Originally created 09/21/04

Officials face censure after bad call against the Gators



GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The officiating crew involved in Saturday night's Florida-Tennessee game made a mistake when it stopped the clock after assessing a late-game penalty against Florida receiver Dallas Baker and will be reprimanded, the Southeastern Conference said Sunday.

Florida led 28-27 with 55 seconds remaining when Baker was penalized 15 yards for retaliation, a personal foul.

Television replays showed Vols defensive back Jonathan Wade hitting Baker across the helmet with an open hand, then Baker swinging back. Officials stopped the clock until Eric Wilbur punted from his own 23-yard line.

"After looking at it, it appears to me it should have been an offset, that both sides were equally responsible and then the clock should have started on the ready for play," said Bobby Gaston, coordinator of football officials for the SEC.

Freshman quarterback Erik Ainge led the Vols on a six-play, 28-yard drive, culminating with James Wilhoit's 50-yard field goal and a 30-28 win.

According to Gaston, NCAA rules state if the play had been an incomplete pass, the clock would not have started until the ensuing snap. Because it was a running play and the clock normally would have continued to run, it also should have run with the penalty.

"There will be accountability, but we do not make public what we do," Gaston said.

Volunteers coach Phil Fulmer said mistakes are an unfortunate part of the game and that Tennessee has been on the receiving end against Florida.

"I guess things go around sometimes. We complained loudly about a dropped ball up here a few years ago or a supposed catch," he said, referring to the controversial 3-yard touchdown catch by Jabar Gaffney in the 2000 game that Florida won 27-23.

ACC HONORS: Three North Carolina players earned weekly honors from the Atlantic Coast Conference following the Tar Heels' weekend win against Georgia Tech.

Jacque Lewis was named offensive back of the week after rushing for 161 yards and two touchdowns in the 34-13 win. Linebacker Fred Sparkman was named defensive lineman of the week. Jacoby Watkins was named defensive back of the week.