Memphis pulled off one of the craziest punt return touchdowns you’ll ever see, with Calvin Austin III scooping what was called a live ball to the befuddlement of his MIssissippi State opponents, and taking it 94 yards for a score. Watching the play, many believed that the ball should’ve been ruled dead, and one of the officials on the field seemed to be signaling that way, before the touchdown was allowed.
The Back Judge of the SEC officiating team gave a “stop the clock” signal just as Austin took off. After the game, SEC Officiating released a statement, confirming that the play should have been reviewed, and that the ball would’ve been placed back where the signal was made.
There was also a missed penalty on Memphis on the same play. Two members of the Tigers, Austin and defensive lineman Maurice White, were on the field at the same time, with both wearing No. 4.
There’s no guarantee that Memphis wouldn’t have still won the game. They had a lead at the time of Austin’s return, and might have taken a lot of time off of the clock, or even scored on that offensive drive. Still, this has to be a tough pill for Mississippi State to swallow.
— SEC Officiating (@SECOfficiating) September 19, 2021
That punt return was the start of a wild few minutes to finish the Tigers and Bulldogs’ game. Mississippi State answered the return with a 57-yard touchdown drive that took 2:33 off the clock, to cut things to 28-23.
MSU appeared to have a fantastic onside kick recovery on the ensuing kickoff, but it was overturned by a very close illegal block call. Memphis added a field goal, followed by another late Mississippi State touchdown to cut things back down to 31-29. The Bulldogs could not recover another onside kick, and Memphis was able to kill the clock.
Mike Leach will likely have plenty to say on this one in the coming days.