Both college football and the NFL have made taunting penalties a point of emphasis this year, with the stated intention of cracking down on players crossing the line in the direction of the other team.
However, what it has produced are some dreadful calls as relatively mild celebrations have at times drawn 15-yard penalties that can impact the outcome of drives and games. On Saturday, Iowa State was on the wrong end of one of the most egregious of these against Oklahoma State, when Xavier Hutchinson caught a slant on an RPO, shook loose of the corner, and darted downfield with no one near him for a touchdown.
Iowa State's touchdown taken off the board after being called for unsportsmanlike conduct on this play pic.twitter.com/Nqs61XqW3g
— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) October 23, 2021
If you’re watching this for the first time you probably struggled to figure out why there was a penalty, and you would be with the majority there with fans, neutral observers, and even most Oklahoma State fans. As he neared the goal line, Hutchinson looked back, slowed up a touch, and did a very minor high step that, somehow, drew the penalty flag and backed Iowa State all the way back to the 18 yard line. The good news is that the Cyclones were able to get a touchdown to tie things up anyways on the drive, avoiding a much bigger story, but it’s indicative of why the new emphasis has frustrated fans so much, because this was in no way crossing a line.