It’s been a few days since the Liberty Bowl thriller ended, and there are still plenty of embers burning in response to the refereeing that nearly led to the worst bowl game collapse in Arkansas football history.
Never mind that the Hogs actually won the game. And never mind that the NCAA has admitted to erring in one of the game’s more egregious calls, a perplexing targeting flag pulled against Arkansas cornerback Quincey McAdoo in overtime. On Thursday, at the behest of Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek, NCAA coordinator of officials Steve Shaw (formerly the SEC’s coordinator of officials) released a statement admitting that McAdoo should not have been disqualified for his hit on Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels at the goal line.
Some feel like more should be done.
“I don’t usually advocate for people to be fired,” Arkansas football reporter Otis Kirk wrote on Facebook. “They are humans and most probably have families. But the Pac-12 crew from the Liberty Bowl should at least be suspended. Quincey would have been [suspended] had Hunter and the SEC not stepped in.”
The Pig Trail Nation reporter continued: “Quincey would have missed the first half of the WC in Little Rock on Sept. 2. That crew should at least be suspended if not fired. Coaches get fired because they lose games, players get removed from games for bad plays so why no penalty for refs who make not one, but numerous bad calls?””
Indeed, there had been a few other blatantly obvious or apparent misses before that would-be game deciding call as well.
Zebras and Arkansas Football
Kirk’s perspective looks downright genteel compared to Hawgsports.com publisher Trey Biddy’s take on the matter. “The refs were total ass this game, trash, embarrassing, [they] should never be able to call a game again,” he said after the game in which Arkansas was favored on Ohio betting apps to download. “I feel confident saying, and this is a strong statement – this is the worst officiated game that I’ve ever seen.”
Biddy then brings up three specific calls before the McAdoo gaffe.
The first happened right before halftime when the Hogs could have gone up 38-13. KJ Jefferson threw a pass to true freshman Isaiah Sategna on a slant, but according to Biddy the referees missed an “obvious pass interference” on Sategna. “They didn’t call it, they just let him have the interception, which also impacted KJ Jefferson’s efficiency rating… he was in line to set the school record for efficiency but that interception basically wiped that out.”
Biddy also vented about multiple missed holding calls against Kansas and a play where “Bryce Stephens gets bumped and then shoved in the face but he’s the guy who gets hit with a personal foul… I’ve watched it over and over again. I can’t understand what in the hell the refs are looking at.”
Finally, there’s perhaps the most disgraceful missed call of them all – the Matt Landers “fumble” with 2:43 left in the game. Replay showed Landers nearly as clear as day in possession of the football as he hit the ground, yet the refs upheld the fumble ruling.
“He had clear control of the ball. His elbow hits, his back hits, the ball pops out,” Biddy said. “I cannot believe that they went back and reviewed that and determined it was a fumble. Insanity.”
Had that call been made correctly, it almost certainly would have meant Kansas would have run out of time and lost the game in regulation as the Jayhawks had no more timeouts left.
Quinn Grovey Gets Real
Multiple times throughout the radio broadcast, Razorback announcers Chuck Barrett and Quinn Grovey expressed their disbelief both at how quickly the Razorbacks’ lead was dwindling and about how bad the referees were.
Grovey, a former Razorback quarterback and co-host of “The Razorback Daily,” is typically as wholesome as they come. But he found the maddening calls made in this game were pushing even him to the brink.
“I’ve been doing the broadcast for a long time and I know I know football, but I may have to go get a refresher on some rules and some stuff like that,” Grovey said on the Buzz 103.7 FM. “That might have been the closest I’ve ever come on the radio, in my 25 years or 26 years I’ve been doing it, to dropping an ‘F-bomb.’ I had to really think about what I was about to say. It is like I was in buddy mode and I’m sitting around my buddies and that’s a dangerous place to be when you’re on the radio.”
Having to go into three overtimes after being up by 24 points is also a dangerous place to be, but the Razorbacks ultimately handled business despite having to overcome what appeared to be an historically bad handicap.
Grovey and Barrett kept it together, too, despite nearly reverting to fan mode.
“I’m glad we stayed calm… I was like, ‘Chuck, we got to regroup too. I mean, we got to pull up our bootstraps and forget it.'”
Quinn Grovey Compares Kansas to Burger King
In another part of the interview, Grovey roasted the Jayhawks’ defense when discussing how well the Razorbacks’ offensive line played despite losing All-SEC Ricky Stromberg in the weeks heading into the game and Ty’Kiest Crawford in the first quarter.
“They were road grading them,” Grovey said. “I mean, guys weren’t getting touched until they got to the second level on certain plays – big gaping holes and the [Rashod] Dubinion and A.J. [Green] were finding the creases that they need to. I thought the offensive line was really good. If you look at every one of those running backs, the big thing for me that stood out was K.J. at 9.3 yards per carry, Dubinion, 5.6 yards per carry and A.J. Green at 7.6 yards per carry. That says things are going extremely well for you.”
“They were treating that defensive line like Burger King. I mean we had it our way. You could have it your way, any way you want it, and it was hunting season.”
Hear more from Grovey:
Watch Biddy’s breakdown: