The Swamp Goes Silent
10/21/2009 9:04 AM
Gainesville, Florida - For a moment on Saturday afternoon Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium went deftly silent. The only sound you heard was the 45 member Arkansas Razorback pep band that flew down for the game playing "Arkansas Fight" after Ryan Mallett found Greg Childs down the right sideline for a 75 yard touchdown pass. The 90 thousand plus fans in attendance went silent because the play was being reviewed. As Childs crossed the goal line, he fumbled the football forward into the endzone. He alertly scrambled to the ball and recovered it. After a review the call on the field was confirmed, after the extra point the Razorbacks had a 20-13 lead with 9:40 to play in the game, and the band played again.
The Razorbacks had chances all afternoon against the defending National Champion Gators. The defense sacked Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow 6 times and forced 2 fumbles from him and 2 others. The defense has made great strides from the beginning of this season to this past Saturday.
It was a close game and Florida fans will say that the Gators tried to give the game away while Arkansas fans will say that the referees won the game for Florida.
It was a game on paper that Florida should have dominated. Instead the Razorbacks were the team that won for the first three quarters. There are a lot of "what if's" that came out of The Swamp. "What if" Mallett hits a wide open Van Stumon in the endzone before the half expired instead of having to settle for a field goal? "What if" Arkansas was able to muster a couple of first downs after recovering Florida fumbles instead of going three and out? "What if" Alex Tejada would not miss field goals from 40 and 38 yards? And the biggest "What If" of them all....."What if" the officials would have kept there little yellow hankies tucked into their side instead of littering the field with them?
Referee Marc Curles thought he saw Malcolm Sheppard (personal foul penalty) hit a Gator when the Umpire, Ronnie Jones, was the closest official to the play and only looked at the Florida player as to say, "You got what you deserved." The Florida offensive player went out of his way, trailing the play, to hit Sheppard and Sheppard put him on his back.
We all know the rest of the story, Florida kicks a 27 yard field goal with nine seconds remaining and escape the swamp by 3 points.
There is no doubt in my mind the Southeastern Conference is the best football conference in America. There is doubt though, when the officials seem to have such an impact on the outcome of a game and possibly a season. Florida should play Alabama in the SEC Championship game in December for the right to represent the SEC in the BCS National Championship game in Pasadena, California, January 7th. Having two undefeated SEC teams playing in the SEC Championship game will guarantee a team from the SEC in the National Championship game. Did Marc Curles think about this?
The Swamp went silent, but was alive after a Zebra helped out a Gator.