Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Here's The Taunting Penalty That Almost Cost FSU The BCS Championship

It's a moot point now, but following a late touchdown drive, Florida State was robbed of the opportunity to tie the game late because of a stupid taunting penalty. Davonta Freeman was penalized 15 yards after a touchdown cut the Tigers lead to 21-19 for taunting the Auburn sideline from midfield. The penalty made it impossible to tie the game with a two-point conversion and FSU had to settle for the point after and a one-point deficit.

On the ensuing kickoff, Auburn drove into FSU territory and hit a field goal to make the score 24-20. The penalty compounded and FSU was again prevented from a tie—this time with a field goal—they had to score a touchdown. Which they did (as did Auburn) but for a little while it looked like a taunting penalty was going to be the deciding factor in the outcome of the BCS.


There was no guarantee FSU would have successfully converted the two-points and tied the game if the flag had not been thrown, but it was guaranteed not to happen once the flag was thrown. The whole situation boils down to a lack of discretion. On Freeman's part and on the referee's. Taunting is a stupid penalty to take in that situation but it's also a stupid one to call. Freeman was at midfield; there was no one near him. FSU needed to tie the game. Imagine the conversation if the game ended as a one-point Auburn win.

Happily, the game get even nuttier and the final BCS Championship was not ruined by the human element.


Pete Thamel says referees told Winston the penalty was for mimicking shooting guns.

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