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Music City Bowl Referee Spoke about Benny Snell Ejection


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.


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.

About the author / 

Shawn Smith

Shawn Smith is a graduate of Lincoln Memorial University, where he earned a degree in elementary education. He currently resides in Middlesboro, Kentucky and is a credentialed media member at the University of Kentucky. Smith founded and published Go Big Blue Country in November 2016. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @gbbcountry or reach him via email at


  1. Don Locknane December 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm12 - 

    The gutless piece of shit referee will not accept responsibility for initiating the physical contact. Benny did not come after him, he went after Benny with no justification.

  2. James Rose December 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm12 - 

    This was a horrible call. Everyone has seen the replay and all anyone has see. Was Benny not wanting help up. My question is what kind of punishment can the has or any other ruling body give to the referee. He definitely deserves a punishment of some sort. Not only for that call, but countless others…the targeting call for one.

  3. sanford hensley December 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm12 - 

    The referee should not interact by standing on top of a player on the ground with his hands in the players personal space.Kentucky should be all over the NCAA to take action against this referee.

  4. Jimmy December 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm12 - 

    Refs like that need to be let go by the NCAA. But you know that’s not going to happen. With the way they see the game it’s getting to the point where any kind of collage sports is no fun to watch anymore. Coaches can’t say anything about how they call the games without getting in trouble so my thought is the refs have it in their heads they are untouchable.

  5. Bill Sanders December 30, 2017 at 2:12 am12 - 

    There’s nothing more God-like than an official on a football field. They do no wrong (ha). Officials are not held accountable, despite their influence on the game. This young man (Snell) was denied playing in a bowl game, because of the ego of an incompetent official. It’s shameful. Sadly, nothing will happen.

  6. George December 30, 2017 at 2:12 am12 - 

    I’m beginning to see that officials hate all Kentucky teams first Higgins against UNCheat in the Basketball Tournament now this idiot pulling this stunt in the Bowl Game.

  7. Steve December 30, 2017 at 2:12 am12 - 

    Take away his tanning bed visit the whole crew look like they just left the Shoney’s buffet table

  8. Rick January 3, 2018 at 2:12 pm01 - 

    The NCAA has to discipline this ref. They also have to give an official statement.

  9. Rick January 3, 2018 at 2:12 pm01 - 

    The NCAA should discipline this ref and counsel him before he works another game. The incident is on tape. The ref lied about what really happened. I also don’t like the way the other refs stood there and let it happen. They could have reviewed it and allowed the player to return after half time.

  10. Walter May 8, 2018 at 2:12 pm05 - 

    There is only one referee. The guy wearing that white hat. He is the head man in charge on the football field. He can’t be over-ruled by the umpires, backfield judge or linesmen. All of these crew members have authority but, the white hat has the final decision making authority in controversial situations.
    In this case, the head referee is the controversial situation with no one to rejudicate his call. He lied and sold his BS call with no one but his conference assigners to respond.
    He may have received some heat in private but the conference that gave him this gig stuck by his side. They suck as bad as he does.

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