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Reggie Bush on uncalled safety for intentional grounding: ‘Maybe the worst call I’ve ever seen’

In a game decided by one point, the missed call in the end zone loomed large.

Alabama v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

A game that featured multiple no-calls that hurt the Texas Longhorns in a 20-19 loss to the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide also included a hugely controversial play in the third quarter with the game tied 10-10 when Alabama quarterback Bryce Young was pulled down by Texas defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat and threw the ball away in the end zone.

The record crowd of 105,213 fans at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium immediately began celebrating, believing that Young was either sacked for a safety or committed intentional grounding, which would also result in a safety.

Instead, as Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian noted after the game, the officiating crew didn’t make a call on the field of a safety or an incomplete pass, merely throwing a flag and huddling. The crew eventually announced that Texas senior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown was called for targeting and roughing the passer, which was then put under review.

Because Overshown barely made contact with the legs of Young, who was upside down in the end zone after Sweat dragged him down, the targeting penalty was overturned — an easy and obvious decision.

But the stadium was shocked once again when the official signaled fourth down.

“It was really just kind of odd that when the play kind of ended no one signaled incomplete, no one signaled safety, they just signaled targeting and then they reviewed the targeting and then deemed it an incomplete pass,” Sarkisian said after the game.

Since intentional grounding is not reviewable, the referee couldn’t correct his mistake on review, leaving Alabama able to punt out of their own end zone and avoid the critical two points from the safety, leaving Sarkisian with no other recourse than to seek an explanation from the officials in what he termed a “thoughtful conversation.”

Sarkisian said that he and his coaching staff clearly believed that it was intentional grounding — and, indeed, Young did throw the ball in the vicinity of an eligible receiver or get it past the line of scrimmage, what should have been a simple and immediate call.

“Tough break,” Sarkisian said.

FOX analyst Reggie Bush went a step further, calling it, “Maybe the worst call I’ve ever seen.”