I have not been so angered by a group of referees since the 2005 game in Ann Arbor that marred Penn State’s nearly undefeated season. But thanks to a poorly called–and then more poorly reviewed– play at the goal line, combined with a safety when it appeared McGloin had left the tackle box, what should have been a close game–perhaps even a Penn State win–was instead a 32-23 decision the other way that was influenced by the stripes more than the solids.
In 2005, I splintered the door frame of our house slamming the door as I stormed out. I learned from that lesson. I went next door to my neighbor’s house (he’s a Pitt fan) and slammed his door this time.
It’s the same old story since joining this
bush league 19 years ago. Sure, we’ll get a PI call once in a while–against Minnesota. But name me one game changing call in favor of Penn State against THEM, O$U, Wisconsin, and now Nebraska. Most Penn State fans can rattle off half a dozen without much thought.
Even McGloin called out the league indirectly. From Rudel in the Altoona Mirror:
“We’ll never get that call here,” McGloin said after replays showed tight end Matt Lehman appeared to score before fumbling into the end zone with 7:39 remaining and the Lions down 27-23. “We’ll never get that call anywhere.”
Of the dozen PSU representatives brought to the visitors’ media quarters at Memorial Stadium, including Bill O’Brien, only McGloin came off like Yosemite Sam.
If calling a spade a spade is being Yosemite Sam, then McGloin should be proud to be put in that category. The rest–O’Brien included, have to be politically correct. But that doesn’t make it correct.
Some fans have suggested that this is “payback” for bad calls against Nebraska in 1982. First of all, that was before replay. Secondly, the situation was magnified by virtue of two undefeated teams clashing for a potential National Championship. Granted, Nebraska has a potential Big Ten Title on the line, but 2012 is hardly an equivalent scenario. On the other hand, if Nebraska fans want to consider the debt paid for a perceived slight in 1982, so be it. We are even.
But if the Big Ten has any integrity left, it would be well served to fire the replay booth official who made this atrocious call.
Yet, despite the thievery of nine points in favor of the Huskers, Penn State continued it’s disconcerting trend of playing a great first half, but then following it with a dismal performance in the second act. Penn State actually led this thing 20-6 at the half, but was outscored 26-10 (although only 3 points actually counted) in the second half.
Why is this?
Under the Paterno regime, stale coaching, stubbornness, conservatism, and strength and conditioning were always trotted out by arm chair quarterbacks on Sunday Morning. But you certainly can’t accuse this coaching staff of being stale, stubborn or conservative. And while I think our defense did whither in the heat against Ohio, I honestly believe that was the fault of the offense that couldn’t move the ball and give the defense a rest. Even well-conditioned athletes can have problems when they overdo things in high heat and humidity.
So now we must create some new excuses, as the old ones simply don’t apply. Are O’Brien and Roof simply poor at adjusting at halftime? The evidence seems to point that direction. Yet there were games, such as Northwestern, when we seemed to do better in the second half at adjusting than our opponent. We had no problems with Purdue or Illinois coming back in the second half of those games either.
Also keep in mind that this group of coaches does not have the players that they recruited for their system. They have also lost key players to defections, particularly on offense. And strength and conditioning changes may take several seasons to see optimal results.
In the end, nothing will change. Maybe there isn’t a conspiracy against Penn State. Maybe there isn’t even a bias against the Nittany Lions. Maybe it is just part of the game and bad luck of the draw. If that is the case, than these things tend to equal out over time. And if that is really true, then Buckeye, Wolverine, Badger and Husker fans better get prepared for a couple of decades of bad calls against them when playing Penn State. I have a feeling they are not all that worried.
And if you are looking for a silver lining in all this . . .Nebraska’s win hurts the wolverine’s chances of getting into the title game. That’s not a bad thing right there.
BY THE NUMBERS:
I said before this game that Penn State would need to do better on third down conversions (we did not) and control time of possession (we did not) to beat Nebraska. We also needed to control their running game (we did not) which would be a key factor in their conversions and ability to control the ball. The end result . . . we lost. The bad calls certainly didn’t help.
Nebraska won the toss and deferred. By taking the ball in the second half, PSU should have chosen which direction they would have the wind in the fourth quarter. O’Brien either chose to go with the wind in third thinking he could add to their lead, or he made a bad choice, having PSU play into the wind in the fourth. I didn’t see too much made about this, but the wind certainly seemed stiff and could have been a factor.
Penn State is 7-8 all time against Big Red.
The crowd was 85,537. Nebraska continues their record of sell-out crowds dating back to the 1300’s.
THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:
The league is hell-bent on a Nebraska-Wisconsin match up and that is all but assured, unless the cornhuskers fail against Minnesota or Iowa, which is not likely.
THEM came back against Northwestern, with a Hail Mary-esque pass with seconds remaining to kick a tying field goal. They prevailed in OT. How can you let a receiver make that catch? Take him out. Take the fifteen yards. They still wouldn’t be in field goal position–or at least it would be a longer kick. Poor decision by the defensive back or safety. The wolverines won 38-31.
Wisconsin pounded the Hoosiers into submission 62-14 and pretty much sealed up the asterisk filled Leaders division.
Purdue beat Iowa 27-24. Did anyone notice? Or care?
Minnesota beat the Illini 17-3.
1. Alabama–beaten by the Aggies 29-24. Thanks for playing.
2. College Football–the Irish inch to #3 on the Bama loss like a worm crawling through dead meat.
3. Louisiana-Lafayette had a punt blocked and returned in the waning seconds to lose to Florida.
4. Miami (FL) lost to Virginia 41-40
Indiana. Beaver Stadium. Whatever. Refs will probably blow a call in our favor and call it even. Shitheads.