FAYETTEVILLE — In 2020, Auburn defeated Arkansas 30-28 following a blown call by the SEC officials.
Arkansas had rallied to take a 28-27 lead with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Feleipe Franks to De’Vion Warren in the fourth quarter. It was after that the call that is still talked about happened.
Auburn was trying to get into field goal position. Quarterback Bo Nix went to stop the clock by spiking the ball. The issue was he spiked it backward so that made it a fumble to everyone except the officials working the game. They blew the play dead despite Arkansas safety Joe Foucha rushing to the ball to make what would have been a game winning recovery of the fumble. Auburn’s Anders Carlson then kicked the winning 39 yard field goal.
Following Tuesday’s practice, Arkansas linebacker Grant Morgan recalled the play and the explanation the Hogs got on the ruling.
“The way I played it, the way I had it in my head, the way it went was I saw the snap and I figured (Gus) Malzahn or (Chad) Morris wanted to go for a late shot and try to just throw us off guard because Morris, when he was here, he had plays where it was a fake spike and throw it up,” Morgan said. “So, I thought maybe that was what they were going to do. So, I just went and I saw them fumble the snap, so I didn’t stop and ran after it. Then I saw him spike it backwards, and we all saw him spike it backwards, I was getting held by No. 71 as I was going to the ball. I figured that was going to be a flag at least. Then I heard whistles blowing all over, so I started yelling at the refs saying ‘Hey, that’s a fumble.’ Joe was still going towards it. Joe never stopped going towards it. They had a receiver that never stopped towards it and thought it was a fumble. So, from my point of view, I thought it was a fumble. I thought it could have been turned the other way, but it didn’t. We can’t go back and look at it. We can go back and say it, and that’s kind of my viewpoint, but it didn’t change anything. Wish it would’ve, but it doesn’t matter about this game.”
Ty Clary downplayed any thought of having revenge for that call as Auburn comes to town this week.
“I mean, yeah, you think about it when you think about last year’s game, but it’s all about this year,” Clary said. “You’ve just got to win this year, you know. It didn’t matter last year, it just went on our record. No one really cared.”
Morgan echoed much of what Clary said and added some more thoughts to the notion of using that as revenge.
“Exactly how Ty said it,” Morgan said. “It went on our record as a loss. That’s what it was. We’re not an excuse team. We don’t make excuses saying it could have been. If anybody, if the fans want to use it as motivation saying they stole a game from us then go for it. Use it as motivation. But we’re here trying to win every game that we can this year, and then we’re going to use whatever it takes to be able to get there. But we’re going to use it as motivation that we lost that game, and we want to be able to win this game.”
On Monday, Sam Pittman was asked if he would use that play as a possible motivation tool this week?
“I don’t know,” Pittman said. “I’ve gone back and forth on what to do with that. A lot of similar players on our team. A lot of guys have gone. I’m sure the same way with Auburn, as well. I think our deal would be more right now is winning home ball games. We’re off to a good start of winning here this year. We’re undefeated in our stadium. It’s been several years since we’ve been undefeated in Razorback Stadium, and I think that means something. Just because it means something to me doesn’t mean it resonates with the kids. I believe headed one more game towards winning in our stadium and winning out in our stadium would be a big deal to our players. I think that might be a little bit more than the revenge factor because Auburn kids didn’t really have anything to do with that, it was just a bad call.”
Arkansas and Auburn are both 4-2 on the season. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. at Reynolds Razorback Stadium and televised by CBS.