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Call it like you see it: K-State got jobbed in Pinstripe Bowl

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It's no secret football referees at the college and pro level have made an effort to crack down on excessive celebrations in the end zone the past couple of years.

No more Terrell Owens sharpies, Chad Ochocinco playing golf or Joe Horn making a call on his cell phone after touchdowns.

All the more reason Thursday's Pinstripe Bowl, a 36-34 Syracuse victory over Kansas State in New York, had one of the more disappointing conclusions to a game that I've seen in some time.

With Kansas State trailing by eight, receiver Adrian Hilburn caught a simple pass near the sideline, made a Syracuse cornerback miss a tackle and outraced the rest of the Orange secondary to the endzone. It was only the second touchdown Hilburn, a senior from New Braunfels, Texas, had ever scored.

Shortly after crossing the end zone, the referees inexplicably flagged Hilburn for one simple salute to the crowd. Worst excessive celebration call I've ever seen:

That's all it took. A simple salute. You know, the same sort of thing Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor does after momentum-swinging dunks. The same sort of thing Denver Broncos players do after scoring touchdowns at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Ref, please.

Excessive celebration calls are not rocket science. They're obvious. That's why it's deemed excessive. If a knucklehead does anything ridiculous after scoring a touchdown that draws attention to himself, it's a 15-yard penalty. Simple enough. Fair enough.

Except the way the referees treated Hilburn was anything but fair. Hilburn told reporters after the game that the referee told him, "Wrong choice, buddy," for his salute.

Come on.

Both the head linesman and the back judge threw flags after Hilburn saluted the crowd.

“These kinds of excessive celebrations have been a priority in the rulebook for the last several years,” Big Ten referee Todd Geerlings told reporters after the game. “There’s a whole page in the rulebook pertaining to sportsmanship.”

Did anyone watch Oklahoma State rout Arizona in the Alamo Bowl on Wednesday night? Justin Blackmon broke free for a 71-yard touchdown in the first quarter and proceeded to sprint along the goal line, as if to taunt Arizona defenders, for several yards before finally breaking the plane to the end zone. Funny thing about that? No flag.

Or how about Tennessee wide receiver Gerald Jones scoring a touchdown in Thursday night's Music City Bowl, doing a wacky dance, then saluting twice? Common theme here? You guessed it. Again, no flag.

Consider me beyond puzzled.

I'm not saying Kansas State would have won without the flag. The Wildcats, who trailed by two points after the touchdown, would have had to convert the two-point conversion, hold Syracuse for the final minute of regulation and outplay the Orange in overtime.

Instead, K-State had to attempt a two-point conversion from the 17-yard line. Odds for conversion, not so great.

The Wildcats deserved a much better chance at extending that game. They were jobbed, plain and simple.

What did you think? As always, discuss.

Comments

Scruggsy 4 years, 7 months ago

Not a Wildcat.

Terrible call. Put a bad ending on what was a great game. Not at all excessive.

nobody1793 4 years, 7 months ago

The ref probably thought he was muggin' for the cameras right in his face, which is different than acknowledging the fans.

It was a crummy call, but just trying to see where the ref might have been coming from.

A big salute to Syracuse and Iowa nonetheless.

riverdrifter 4 years, 7 months ago

I don't have a dog in this fight but the call stunk. Snyder should report this crew to the NCAA and he probably will. Like it will do any good. The NCAA is above all reproach. They do NOthing wrong. Just ask them.

mom_of_three 4 years, 7 months ago

Yes, it was a questionable call, but so was Snyder going for it on 4th down instead of trying for the field goal on an earlier drive, which, if made, would have given them the win. Yes, the field was awful and the fieldgoal was not guaranteed, but I don't think that one call in the end zone cost them the game.

Scruggsy 4 years, 7 months ago

Yep- might have been a different game had they kicked that FG... Absolutely.

But- why have an official's call, in a bowl game, in the last minute, because some kid was saluting the crowd in Yankee Stadium (looked like the K-State students section), basically result in a 4th and 18?

Terrible call by that ref. Could it be the kid's high point in his college career? He saluted the band? Or a KS crown that travelled 1200 miles? And put up w/ a city that was shut down by a blizzard?

Its not like he even attempted a Lambeau Leap, by the way...

mom_of_three 4 years, 7 months ago

Even without that penalty, though, KSU would have had to made the two point attempt, which was no guarantee. yeah, the penalty stunk and there has been worse in bowl games and no calls, but there were so many other mistakes made by KSu that really decided the game.

riverdrifter 4 years, 7 months ago

"“These kinds of excessive celebrations have been a priority in the rulebook for the last several years,” Big Ten referee Todd Geerlings told reporters after the game. "Excessive"? Big Ten officials?! Whoa, Nellie! Sheeiit, wait 'til these guys get a load of Bo Pelini and Nebraska.

paladin551 4 years, 7 months ago

Questionable? That was the MOST unbelievable WTF moment I have ever seen. Under THAT interpretation of the rule? Hilburn could have dropped to one knee, closed his eyes and said a short prayer and been called for 'drawing attention to himself'. He could have stood still and taken a breath and called attention to himself. Yankee stadium? hmmmmm, maybe the refs were in some bookie's pocket to ensure a Syracuse win? UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE. As for Syracuse? Both teams played a great game, if I were them? I wouldn't even WANT a victory that was decided that way. Just take the trophy and present it to the ref squad and tell them where they can put it.....

rockchalker52 4 years, 7 months ago

Snyder's fake field goal stunk & the ref's call stunk even worse.
Hayseeds get rubed in the big city.
Stinkin' New Yawkers, prolly a mob thing.

blindrabbit 4 years, 7 months ago

I thought that that kind of penalty was assessed on the following kick-off and not on the extra point try. Kinda reminded me of the penalty that was assessed to KU in the Orange Bowl vrs. Virginia Tech when Aqib Talib high stepped into the end zone; fortunately it did not influence the outcome. Regardless, the call against KSU was the worst I've seen!

xclusive85 4 years, 7 months ago

The team that accepts the penalty has the choice to accept the penalty on the point after or the kickoff.

rockchalker52 4 years, 7 months ago

Btw, a kid from Tenn. did the exact same thing tonight in their game against NC. Scored, saluted, and no flag!

kotite4ever 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm a huge Syracuse fan, and was at the game...but K-State got absolutely robbed on that call. It's a shame that the refs would call that there, sullying what was otherwise an exciting football game.

NoSpin 4 years, 7 months ago

I heard a lot about the call and now just saw the play on this blog. What pops out at me as an objective viewer is the Syracuse player grabs the K-State player 10 yards deep in the end zone and kind of spins him. The K-State player saluted immediately when he was released by the defender. Our purple friends were denied a possible OT. A good game could have been a great game.

BigDog 4 years, 7 months ago

Maybe if they stopped Syracuse in the second half ..... the KState defense made a Syracuse offense that had been mediocre all season look like the New England Patriots .... or if their quarterback doesn't overthrow a wide open man on the 2 point attempt .... ot if they had kicked the field goal instead of the horrid fake attempt.

It wasn't just the "bad call" that cost them the chance to tie the game.

Still doesn't mean they would have completed the 2 point conversion or stopped Syracuse in regulation or in overtime.

parrothead8 4 years, 7 months ago

It was a horrible call, but it didn't cost K-State the game. Rushing is what cost them the game. They were absolutely awful at running the ball and at stopping the run. Take away one lucky 51-yard dash, and their leading rusher ran for 39 yards on 21 carries. And their defense gave up 259 yards rushing. That's weak.

Phillbert 4 years, 7 months ago

Bad call by the refs, but perhaps fitting from a karma standpoint considering Wildcats boo incessantly at every call, good or bad, that goes against their FB and BB teams. But like many have said, a lot of other factors went into the loss beyond just the penalty.

Scruggsy 4 years, 7 months ago

The point of this column is: "Did KSU get jobbed"?

K-State got Jobbed.

Horrible call. "Excessive celebration"?

Shane Garrett 4 years, 7 months ago

The call took the game from heart pounding to heart stoping in two seconds. What a let down. I know Monday "the call" will be all the talk. But, we all know B.S. should have went for the field goal attempt. I mean I am listening on the radio driving home and I knew B.S. was running a fake it was that obvious.

Ray March 4 years, 7 months ago

i can't stand k-state and am glad to see them lose.

however, that call was ludacris. k-state got hosed! no way you should make that call, ever!

the refs should be reprimanded. you have to let the kids enjoy it a little bit and not try and take the personality out of the game.

Ray March 4 years, 7 months ago

typo: i meant ludicrous. it wasn't the rapper. :)

blindrabbit 4 years, 7 months ago

K-State haters, I'm a KU guy; but the Cats got ripped. I can imagine if it was KU in that game, the refs. would have figured a way to screw us as well. Thanks to the Big 10 officials and the East Coast bias.

Leprechaunking13 4 years, 7 months ago

Jobbed! Unquestionably jobbed, "wrong choice, buddy" why else would the ref say that to the player?

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