Flag was thrown on Richt after he told refs they were the SEC’s best

Simply the mention of referee Penn Wagers’ name brings a strong reaction by some Georgia fans.

He was the referee in Georgia’s 2007 game against Florida when Georgia coach Mark Richt emptied the sidelines and drew a celebration penalty. And he was the one who threw the flag on Richt Saturday for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when Richt argued that Georgia should have got the ball after an Auburn fumble that he thought Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons recovered.

Richt said Wagers threw the flag after Richt got close to him and said: “I think you guys are the best SEC officials that we have. That’s what I said. Something very close to that.”

CBS’s field microphone, as picked up by Timothy Burke of Deadspin, caught Richt saying: “That’s crap.”

On Tuesday, Richt said: ‚ÄúThat might have been. … I‚Äôm glad that‚Äôs the worst I did. I‚Äôve done worser in the past. ‚ÄòThat‚Äôs a bunch of crud. That‚Äôs cruddy.‚Äô I think they‚Äôll let you say your piece and get out of there, but I probably said my piece too long.‚Äù

Some thought that Auburn should have been called for targeting on the final play of the game when defensive end Dee Ford hit quarterback Aaron Murray after Georgia had reached the 20-yard line and Murray’s pass fell incomplete.

Murray was asked about it often this week. He said he didn’t think it was targeting because “he pretty much hit me right in the chest.”

“It was a hard hit,” Richt said. “I don’t even know what a targeting is anymore sometimes. I’ll look at this one and it is and I’ll look at another one and they say it’s not. I’m like, ‘What’s the difference?’ I think it’s been a very difficult thing for everybody to define. I do think it will be the No. 1 rule that will be addressed to try to figure out what’s the best way to move forward. It’s been confusing, it’s been problematic in a lot of ways.”

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@JeffSchultzAJC @SethEmerson @BizWriterKristi Less than 3 weeks until basketball opener. Not that we are counting down.

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