War of words continues but late call in game ruled correct

JACKSON, Miss. -- The Southeastern Conference's coordinator
of officials said Monday there was nothing wrong with the reversal
of a call Saturday that guaranteed Alabama's 27-24 win over

The reversal led to a storm of hurled garbage, the arrest of
three people and more hard feelings between the Rebels and the
Crimson Tide.

"When I watched the tape this morning, I saw nothing that would
give me guidance to dispute or disagree with the ruling of the
replay official," said Rogers Redding, the SEC's coordinator of

Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron and athletic director Pete Boone
strongly disagreed in their first comments since the game in

"The game should not end on a judgmental call from the box,"
Orgeron said. "Not after a game like that."

The rivals swapped leads throughout the game and it appeared
Alabama would win with a late rally. But on fourth down, Ole Miss
quarterback Seth Adams found receiver Shay Hodge for what appeared
to be a 41-yard reception at the Alabama 4 with 7 seconds left.

The Rebels lined up to take a shot into the end zone for the
win. But Alabama coach Nick Saban called a timeout and appealed to
the officials to ask for a review.

"I just happened to be at a vantage point on that particular
play where I saw the guy run out of bounds and it was right behind
the official who it should have been what he was looking at, but
he probably was looking at the catch instead of that," said Saban,
the son of an official. "It's tough to see everything."

It turned out Saban was right. Hodge did run out of bounds, but
the call wasn't that simple. If he had been forced out by an
Alabama defender, Hodge had every right to run back in and make the

If he hadn't been forced out, he could only become eligible
again if a Crimson Tide player touched the ball first.

On the television replay, and to the more than 50,000 fans, it
looked as if Hodge snatched away the ball after an Alabama
defensive back grabbed it.

As Alabama ran the final seconds off the clock to win the game,
fans began throwing garbage onto the field -- everything from
whiskey and vodka bottles to a set of red high heels.

Saban urged his players to keep their helmets on and get into
the tunnel as quickly as possible. He said he wanted to make sure
his players weren't "mugging."

"There is no class in that," Saban told reporters after the
game. "I just want our players to represent the university with
class. If [Ole Miss fans] want to be classless, that's their

The comment drew a sharp rebuke from Boone. He said he talked
Monday morning with Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, who
reminded him of a similar incident last month when Crimson Tide
fans threw garbage at Georgia players.

"To a certain extent maybe Nick is kind of like a parent who
can see the faults of the children that live next door, but maybe
not your own," Boone said.

He said the fusillade of garbage was not acceptable and that
arrests were made and will be made if it happens again. But he
thought Saban should have minded his own business.

"I'm not real sure that some other coach ought to be talking
about our fans," Boone said. "I kind of resented that a little

All the hubbub was wasted as it turns out.

Redding said the replay official was right in ruling that Hodge
was not "blocked" out of bounds, as the rule requires. And he saw
two views of the catch that went against Ole Miss. One showed Hodge
touch the ball first and the second showed a "simultaneous"
catch, which by rule goes to the offensive player.

"I'm sick, but I have to deal with it," Orgeron said.
"There's nothing I can do about it. It's very, very unfair. This
is not about me. It's about my team. We should've been allowed to
play that last 7 seconds and let the best team win."