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Football: Sun Belt reprimands officials from Georgia State game

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, October 7, 2014



Georgia State Panthers quarterback Nick Arbuckle (4) is sacked by UL Ragin’ Cajuns defensive lineman Christian Ringo (9) during the first half of an NCAA football game at Cajun Field. (Photo: Paul Kieu/The Advertiser)



The Sun Belt Conference today announced that commissioner Karl Benson has "reprimanded" the officiating crew that worked UL’s 34-31 win over Georgia State last Saturday night at Cajun Field.

The nature of the reprimand has not been disclosed, but the reason for it was.

And, in what might be a surprise to some Cajun fans, it has nothing to do with two somewhat controversial calls, a second-half interference in the end zone on UL safety Tracy Walker and UL defensive lineman Justin Hamilton’s first-half ejection for targeting GSU quarterback Nick Arbuckle.

Rather, the Sun Belt "acknowledges that there was a mistake in counting downs," it said in a statement.

Further explanation from the SBC: "A loss of down occurred during the final drive of the second quarter when Georgia State had possession of the ball with less than a minute to go.

"After a series of penalties – most notably a false start – Georgia State should have had the ball on first down with 15 yards to gain. A timeout was taken to avoid a 10 second runoff and upon resumption of play, the down and distance was wrongly marked as second down and 15 yards to gain."

Said Benson in prepared remarks: "The Sun Belt is committed to ensuring that our game officials, like our coaches and student-athletes, are held to a high standard. When that standard is not met, we must acknowledge an error occurred."

GSU wound up with a late-half field goal out of the drive anyway.

Because his ejection happened in the first half, incidentally, Hamilton will not have to miss any of 2-3 UL’s next outing, an ESPN2-televised game that comes next Tuesday night at Texas State.