Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said Tuesday that Michigan State's defenders were clapping before snaps during Saturday's game and that he would report the matter to the Big Ten office.
Michigan State wasn't penalized for simulating the snap count. Defenders mimicking the snap count is a penalty as defenders are outlawed from trying to fake out offensive players. At times during Saturday's game Nebraska had issues with its center and QB expecting the snap at the same time. Plus, the Cornhuskers had three pre-snap penalties, including this epic false start by Jake Cotton.
"Our center heard a clap and he snapped the football," Pelini said during his weekly teleconference Tuesday. "The rule is you can't do anything intentionally to simulate a snap or a snap count. It didn't happen a lot, but it happened a few times, and it's not the first time this has happened. Michigan State isn't the first team to ever do that. But you hope that they would catch it. It went past it and when we made an adjustment to make sure that doesn't happen again, we have to be on the same page."
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio maintained his team did nothing wrong and that it uses claps to make pre-snap adjustments. The Spartans won the game 27-22.
"There are different ways we have to move our front, and some of that is done with clapping and all kinds of hand signals," Dantonio said. "I think what happened is he heard a clap but the center wasn't looking at the quarterback when he snaps the ball. Maybe that's the way that we normally do it, but in an environment like we had here, you need to look at the quarterback I guess. I don't know. But from my perspective, we have the opportunity to move our people any way we want to move them."
Nebraska mounted a furious comeback during the second half that fell short. After trailing 27-3 at the start of the fourth quarter, Nebraska scored 19 points to cut the deficit to five points but tossed an interception on a potential game-winning drive with less than a minute left in the game.
Pelini said the team wanted to push the tempo earlier in the game like it did in the second half, but because of the rainy conditions in East Lansing, Mich., Pelini said officials wanted to make sure the ball wasn't getting soaked.
"I thought they were standing over the ball and marking the ball because it was wet," he said. "I guess they were trying to dry the football off and at times we were ready to go. When it wasn't ready to be snapped, we were lined up but we went a little bit slower to kind of get us in the right play. There's a lot to it."
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For more Michigan State news, visit SpartanMag.com.
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