Although it probably wouldn’t have affected the outcome of the game, a holding call late in the second quarter of Alabama’s 49-30 victory over Arkansas during the 2016 season was of the phantom variety—a notion alluded to by more than just Razorbacks fans.
During the play in question, Arkansas appeared to have scored on an 8-yard pass from Austin Allen to Drew Morgan with time winding down in the half, and cut the Tide’s lead to 28-14. But the touchdown was called back due to a holding call on right tackle Brian Wallace and Arkansas had to settle for a field goal, making the score 28-10 instead.
Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema lost it, and incurred a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for running out onto the field and arguing with officials. And Bielema wasn’t the only one hinting at an Alabama bias. An LSU fan posted a video to YouTube with commentary suggesting that referees “robbed” Arkansas on the play.
“When I talk about Bama privilege you guys think I’m making it up,” the fan says. “Watch the refs rob Arkansas. Watch. On this play number 60 got called for a hold. Watch what they called holding. The (defensive) tackle does a spin move to the outside and falls down. He down on his own. And watch, the ref was already prepared to throw the flag regardless of what happened. He was gonna find a reason to throw that flag.”
It may not have been as blatant as this guy’s making it out to be, but even ESPN’s Todd Blackledge seemed to agree that the call was suspect.
“Boy, I don’t know. I think (Da’Shawn) Hand lost his balance on the spin move,” Blackledge said during the broadcast. “I’m not sure that deserved a holding call.”