Georgia State coach suggests Auburn had 'little bit of help' from SEC officiating

Auburn was able to escape with the victory over Georgia State

Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott was bitter following the narrow loss to No. 23 Auburn on Saturday night and suggested the Tigers received some help thanks to the SEC officiating.

Auburn quarterback T.J. Finley threw a 19-yard pass to John Samuel Shenker to set up the go-ahead touchdown over the Panthers. Replay appeared to show the pass hit the ground before Shenker was able to secure the catch. However, officials would confirm the call was a catch.

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Finley would throw a touchdown pass to Shedrick Jackson to take the lead with 45 seconds remaining in the game and Auburn would hold on to beat Georgia State, 34-24.

Elliott took issue with the officiating after the game.

"They had a little bit of help on that review where the ball was incomplete," Elliott said, via ESPN. "It should have been put back on the 30-yard line. But you know when you play in the SEC you gotta take the hits. And they gave us a real gut punch on that call. So we appreciate that."

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Auburn quarterback TJ Finley (1) throws a pass for a touchdown to take the lead over Georgia State in  the final minute of the second half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Auburn, Ala.

Auburn quarterback TJ Finley (1) throws a pass for a touchdown to take the lead over Georgia State in  the final minute of the second half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Georgia State had Auburn on upset alert for most of the game. But the Panthers failed to score in the second half, getting outscored 22-0

"I think our football team played one unbelievable contest," Elliott added. "They played as hard as they could. They had some adversity and really fought and dug. It’s really amazing that it came down to a fourth-down play."

Auburn coach Bryan Harsin said there were still things to improve upon.

"At the end of the day, it’s not pretty. We have to learn from this, in things that we learned from this game that we know we can do better. ... We’ve got to take all of that into conference play. That has to continue to keep getting better. We have finals every Saturday, not just quizzes," Harsin said.

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It was the first time the teams had ever met as FBS opponents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.