Photo by Keyli Chisesi (Go Big Blue Country)
The twentieth edition of the Music City Bowl will be one to remember and not for many positives. I’m not one to usually criticize officiating but unfortunately, the officials played a major role in the result. Early in the first half, Kentucky star running back Benny Snell Jr. was ejected for shoving an official. However, if you take a look at the replay, Snell only refused to be helped up by the official.
This is why Benny Snell was ejected. pic.twitter.com/QVFczR8anz
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) December 29, 2017
The official that was involved was Music City Bowl head referee, Chris Coyte. Adam Sparks of the Tennessean was the pool reporter who asked for clarification on the call and ejection.
Clarification of Benny Snell ejection:
“I was on top of the play. And the player got up and grabbed my arms and pushed them away and contacted me. That’s a foul.”
Did Snell say anything beyond the contact that influenced the ejection?
Can there be incidental contact between a player and an official?
Was this contact incidental?
“It was not.”
Is it accurate to phrase this as ‘intentional contact’?
“That’s how I ruled. Yes.”
Mark Stoops said that he was told at halftime that Snell shoved an official, which led to the running back exiting the Music City Bowl early. The UK coach also noted that losing Snell didn’t change the game plan all that much but anytime you lose your best player, it’s a devastating blow to your chances.
Despite the questionable officiating, Kentucky nearly pulled off an unbelievable win but a late two-point conversion attempt failed, resulting in a 24-23 Northwestern win.