Sidelines with John Clay

Some Missouri fans have not let go of controversial Kentucky loss

At least a couple of Missouri fans are still not over the Tigers’ 15-14 loss to Kentucky now two Saturdays ago.

You may remember that Mizzou defensive back DeMarkus Acy was flagged for pass interference in the end zone on what would have been the final play of a game in which Missouri led 14-9. With the game extended to an untimed down, UK scored a touchdown to cap an 11-point comeback.

The controversy over that interference call, coupled with Missouri’s 38-17 thrashing of Florida in The Swamp and Kentucky’s 34-17 loss to Georgia, has flamed up again.

Found a pair of e-mails from Missouri in my inbox on Sunday morning.

From Tim:

“That’s two losses in a row. Count on more. Kentucky is a fraud outside of basketball.

“Karma’s a bitch.”

Tim had e-mailed me after the Kentucky-Missouri game to say his wife is a Kentucky girl but there was no way UK should be proud of the win.

“That game was about three things:

“1) A very good, but not flawless, Kentucky defense;

“2) Atrocious play calling by Mizzou in the second half;

“3) The worst pass interference call in the history of college football at the end of the game.

“As a graduate of The University of Missouri, I do love Kentucky most days of the year; but DeMarcus Acey played flawless pass defense on the last play of regulation. Anyone who knows anything about football would have been proud of that defense.

“To anyone who has respect for the game, Kentucky clearly lost last Saturday.

“But I can’t blame UK for accepting the win.”

I received a similar e-mail from Mark after the UK win over Mizzou:

“Nice column. And kudos to Kentucky for hanging in there.

“But the story of the game, which your column sort of glosses over, was the call.

“I have watched various replays, from various angles, of the pass interference call. It was perhaps the worst call, of any type, in any sport, that I have ever seen in my 58 years on this planet.

“Not only did the Kentucky receiver blatantly push off in the end zone, 13 yards from the line of scrimmage, but he also several times placed his hands on top of Acy’s (the defender’s) helmet and pushed downward, making the Mizzou defender lose his balance. This squares exactly with what Acy said in postgame interviews.

“In addition, there is no way on earth that the receiver had a chance to catch the ball inbounds, because the ball was thrown way out of bounds.

“It was a horribly designed and executed play by Kentucky. They threw the ball out of bounds, in a very tight window, and gave the receiver no chance.

“They got away with it because of an officiating crew that completely failed to do its (expletive deleted) job as well.

“Kentucky failed. The officiating crew failed. Meanwhile, the Mizzou defender played it admirably, considering what the hell the receiver was doing to him.

“Did Mizzou make a couple of questionable coaching decisions? Yes. But the bottom line is that the SEC and its officials absolutely CANNOT allow an officiating call this putrid to happen again. The SEC must do better.

“I would ordinarily root for a historic Kentucky win this Saturday. But I do not believe a team should win a division title because of a bogus win on a play where the receiver cheated that badly and got away with it. Go Bulldogs.”

So after Saturday’s game, Mark included me in a long e-mail that read as a letter to Santa and had a “cc” to Mitch Barnhart.

I won’t post the entire e-mail, which continued the rant about the pass interference call, but it ended with this:

“Santa, my final request is that next time you’re giving out Final Four basketball berths, instead of giving an 18th to Kentucky – enough already – that you finally give one to Mizzou. We’re tired of waiting for our first one.

“Thanks, Santa. I promise to write more often, and not just when I need important stuff. Stay warm up there – probably easier to do nowadays with the permafrost thawing so quickly while that grinch, Mr. Trump, denies climate change.”

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