Penn State has good reason to be angry after its loss to Nebraska.
A bang-bang play at the goal line was ruled a Penn State fumble. After reviewing a replay that clearly showed the Nittany Lions scored before the ball was knocked out, the official ruling was ... a Penn State fumble.
The call made for some angry Nittany Lions, and we can't say we blame them for feeling that way.
Penn State was trailing 27-23 at Nebraska in the fourth quarter when tight end Matt Lehman caught a pass and stretched the ball over the goal line. He lost the ball and Nebraska recovered, but the replay clearly showed the ball broke the plane before it got knocked out. ESPN's Sean McDonough and Chris Spielman, who were calling the game, both agreed it was a touchdown, and the original call on the field of a fumble should be reversed. It was impossible to see the replay and not think that. Unless you were the replay officials, of course. The fumble call stood.
Nebraska went on to win 32-23. David Jones of The Patriot-News wrote a well written, calm, rational column that brought up the possibility of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State and the lingering bad feelings toward Penn State having to do with the egregious bad call. Yes, that's how bad the call was, that such a theory can't be dismissed. In that column, quarterback Matt McGloin seemed to agree with that theory with his postgame comments to Jones. Here's a key passage from Jones' column, beginning with McGloin's first quote on the matter:
"Man, I don't know. We're not gonna get that call here. We're not gonna that call ever, actually, against any team. Doesn't matter who the refs are. We'll never get that call."
McGloin's voice was all the way down in his throat, quavering with pent up anger.
Why won't PSU get such a call, I asked?
"Why do you think it is? It's just the way it is, man."
I said I knew what I thought he was saying. But I asked him to explain it:
"Write what you think. … It's us against the world and we're not gonna get those types of calls in these types of games."
While a conspiracy theory against Penn State is pretty hard to believe, the call was pretty tough to believe too.
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