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Why did this exchange with a ref get Kentucky's Benny Snell thrown out of the Music City Bowl?

It’s one of those deals where going by the letter of the law should have some nuance.

You tell me if this warrants an ejection.

That’s Kentucky running back Benny Snell contacting a ref (right as the ref was also contacting him, mind you). Technically that’s a personal foul by the letter of the law, but at some point there’s gotta be some nuance in an official’s mind. It’s also apparently an automatic ejection because Snell didn’t have any other personal fouls before this and was still tossed from the game.

Snell was probably a little frustrated after being taken down by about five Northwestern players, and he’s likely not used to a ref offering to help him up off the ground.

I’d want to give the ref some benefit of the doubt because perhaps Snell said something untoward to the official, but the official justification for chucking Snell is because he touched the ref.

This is also Kentucky’s best player, and their offense stagnated in the Music City Bowl ever since he left. It was a tough break for the Cats on a questionable decision in a game they lost close. Kentucky also got another unsportsmanlike conduct after Mark Stoops argued a hit that was a bit late, so there was an ongoing battle with the refs.