Celebration penalty dooms Georgia in loss to LSU

When did college football referees decide to hate the world and ruin everyone’s fun?

Down 12-7 with just over a minute remaining in their game against LSU on Saturday, Georgia quarterback Joe Cox found receiver A.J. Green for a 16-yard touchdown pass to give the Bulldogs a 13-12 lead.

Following the play, Green foolishly decided to act joyful about the touchdown pass and celebrate with his teammates, who mobbed him in the end zone. The refs flagged Green for excessive celebration (because you know, nobody should be allowed to show emotion about a touchdown), which is a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, added on to the ensuing kickoff.

After Georgia failed to convert the 2-point conversation, LSU set itself up at the Bulldog 38-yard line with much help from the penalty. Two players later, Charles Scott broke free for a 33-yard touchdown to put the Tigers up 18-13. A 2-point conversation later and LSU hung on for a 20-13 victory.

The celebration penalty was a freaking joke. It’s not like Green and his teammates choreographed a dance in the end zone that went on for five minutes, nor did Green mimic calling somebody on a cell phone he hid in the goal post. It was a crap call and at the very least, aided in LSU’s victory. (Scott was also called for excessive celebration after his TD run, which was just as bad as the call on Green.)

That said, Georgia played like crap in the first half, benefited from two costly LSU turnovers that probably would have generated points and allowed Scott to run basically untouched to the end zone on the game-winning touchdown. The Dawgs didn’t do enough offensively to earn the win and while the penalty certainly helped the Tigers, LSU outplayed UGA for most of the game.

As for the Tigers, they owe their 5-0 record and No. 4 ranking to the defense, because the LSU offense has been incredibly inconsistent so far this season. They moved the ball well in the first half and in the fourth quarter against Georgia, but once the Dawgs made adjustments at halftime, the Tigers didn’t have an answer.

Still, getting a win in Athens is tough and LSU deserves credit for the win, especially considering many pundits deemed the Tigers overrated coming into this game.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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