The Rebel crowd was hoping for a miracle as Ole Miss left the huddle facing a fourth-and-22 just inside Alabama territory trailing by three. Hodge knew he had to make a play.
"I figured I would get the ball when the play was called," Hodge remembers. "I was trying to make room where I could come back and jump for the ball. I didn't know I was that close to the sidelines, but I felt him push me. And then he grabbed the ball, and since I knew I didn't want him to intercept it, I just reached up and snatched it away."
And as he did, a pause and then a thunderous ovation escalated throughout Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. It was supposed to be a defining moment for the Rebels and Hodge. The wide receiver had bounced back after a mistake where a pass riccocheted off his body and was intercepted by the Crimson Tide.
That (interception) was my fault," Hodge said. "I have to catch that. I told Seth I would make it up to him. I would do in the end whatever it takes to make it right. I thought I had, but then they changed it."
"They" being referee Penn Wagers and replay official Doyle Jackson.
Alabama called a timeout, a second look was taken and Ole Miss was denied the chance to tie or take the lead with seconds remaining, with the ruling that Hodge ran out of bounds on his own and was the first to touch the pass after it left Adams' hand.
Differing emotions ran through Hodge for the several minutes that seemed like eternity.
"I was flyin' high," Hodge said. "I knew I had won the game and was getting over the hump to turn our season around. Then, they made the call and like Mike (Wallace) said, it put a dagger in us. Really hurt.
"Real tough, it's just real, real tough. I just feel that it wasn't right. I don't know how to explain it. I was forced out of bounds, and he touched the ball first. I took it out of his hands. At first, I thought they were saying I dropped the ball. I thought no way it would be overturned. I was telling coach to get ready and that we were going to win this game."
Wagers announced the decision, but his full explanation was lost amid the booing from folks in Blue and the cheering of those in Crimson. The frustration was evident with all Ole Miss players, but even so with Hodge.
"It is harder for me because I feel like I lost the game. I should have stayed in bounds where there was no choice but for it to be a catch at the end. I know it is hard for me. We just can't catch a break."
While replays have circulated throughout, Hodge doesn't have to see the play again.
"I don't want to see," he closed. "I know it was a bad call because I was out there, regardless of what anyone says."
Hodge hurting after reversed call
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