Or so I thought. Turns out there was a different blown call earlier in the game that might've had a much bigger impact on the outcome than any of the flags that were actually thrown.
Here's a couple photos of a tackle of Georgia's Caleb King. The LSU player who's got him by the ankle is #24, Harry Coleman; the only tackle of King with which Coleman was credited happened on a 3rd-and-13 midway through the fourth quarter. King caught a pass for a 7-yard gain, and then this happened:
Senator Blutarsky runs down the list:
· Helpless player? Check – he’s already in the grasp of a defender and being tackled.
· Lead with the head? Check – Alem’s upper torso is parallel to the ground.
· Left his feet? Check.
That counts as both spearing and helmet-to-helmet contact, either one of which would be worth a 15-yard personal foul on #84, Rahim Alem. But in spite of the fact that King's fucking jaw was fractured by this hit, no flag was thrown.
With no penalty applied, Georgia had to punt on 4th-and-6; starting at their own 12, LSU proceeded to go on an 88-play touchdown drive that took 3:54. With 2:47 left, they kicked off to Georgia, who went on a 79-yard touchdown drive of their own that lasted 1:38. That was the TD for which A.J. Green was inexplicably flagged, so LSU had 1:09 left to drive only 38 yards for the touchdown.
But if the penalty had been properly applied to the Alem spear, Georgia would've had first-and-10 from the LSU47 with 6:47 left. Let's say they run three more plays, run a minute and a half off the clock, but don't get enough for the first down, and have to punt from the LSU42 with 5:17 to go.
From there, Drew Butler might either pooch it and pin the Tigers inside their own 20 or accidentally boot it into the end zone for a touchback, but either way, LSU scores their go-ahead TD with about a minute and a half left -- enough time for Georgia to score their winning TD (maybe having to call a time-out, but they had two left), squib the kickoff, and leave LSU with only a handful of seconds to try and come up with the winning score.
So, like . . . fuck.
Look, it's bad enough when dumbass refs affect the outcome of a game by randomly, arbitrarily applying rules that only concern keeping players from acting like showboaty douchebags (not that that's what A.J. Green was doing, because we've all agreed that he wasn't). When dumbass refs affect the outcome of a game by randomly, arbitrarily applying rules that concern keeping players' jaws from getting broken, that's unconscionable. And if the refs who worked the LSU-Georgia game haven't picked up the spearing/helmet-to-helmet/unnecessary-roughness rules any more thoroughly than they have the excessive-celebration rules, then they need to be more than apologized for; they need to be told to find new jobs.