October 13, 2007

After further review: 5-2

OXFORD, Miss. - "After further review … how are we going to get out of here alive?"

Those weren't exactly the words of referee Penn Wagers when Alabama's 27-24 win over Ole Miss was keyed by an overturned call, but as soon as Wagers uttered the word "reversed", they might as well have been.

The Crimson Tide football team improved to 5-2 on the season Saturday in front of 59,791 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, and in a game that featured enough momentum swingers to last Alabama a month, it was a reversal from the replay booth that made the greatest difference of all.

A desperation fourth-down pass that appeared to be completed inside the Alabama 5 put the Rebels in position for their first Southeastern Conference victory of the season. With seven seconds remaining, Ole Miss would have at least had a chance to pass once for the win before - at a minimum - sending the game to overtime with a chipshot field goal.

But Shay Hodge's leaping catch over Alabama's Lionel Mitchell was ruled incomplete when the replay official ruled Hodge had stepped out of bounds before the catch, making him an ineligible receiver. The resulting cascade of bottles and cups launched from the Ole Miss student section meant only one thing: Alabama was in the victory formation, taking a knee and escaping with one the Rebels thought was theirs.

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