Counting to 11 isn't supposed to be all that difficult, although members of the officiating crew working South Carolina's win over Kentucky on Saturday apparently weren't up to the task. Kentucky was flagged five yards for an illegal substitution when it was ruled the Wildcats broke a defensive huddle with 12 men on the field. Normally, a 5-yard flag wouldn't be much of a game-changer, but the circumstances of this one made it a little tougher for UK coach Mark Stoops to stomach.
"They just got off the phone with Steve Shaw, the (SEC) head of the officials, and they made a mistake. They were wrong. ... I called (Shaw) yesterday. And I called him today. (Laughter.) No, Steve does an outstanding job -- I really do (think so)."
With 2:15 left in the game and Kentucky trailing by only seven, the call gave South Carolina a first-and-5 situation as it tried to salt away the clock with the lead. That led to a first down, and ultimately UK never got the ball back.
Wildcats linebacker Avery Williamson, UK's top NFL prospect, tweeted his displeasure Sunday:
According to Kyle Tucker of courier-journal.com, the conference office was in no mood to impart the outcome of Stoops' complaint the way Stoops himself was. This is the statement that came from the ivory tower:
"Every play from every game is reviewed, as well as weekly evaluations of each official and crew. The content of these evaluations and conversations between the conference office and game officials are not something the SEC would comment on publicly."
Thanks, Mark, for the clarification.