Penn State Football 2012: Blown Call Hurts Nittany Lions in Defeat at Nebraska

Barry LeonardAnalyst IIINovember 10, 2012

Nov 10, 2012; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Bo Pelini talks to Penn State Nittany Lions running back Michael Zordich (9) after defeating Penn State at Memorial Stadium. Nebraska won 32-23. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE
Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

What makes a loss even worse? When it's aided by a blown call that should have been overturned by replay. That's what happened to Penn State as the Nittany Lions fell 32-23 at Nebraska.

Trailing 27-23 late in the fourth quarter, Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin completed a pass to tight end Matt Lehman for an apparent go-ahead touchdown. Lehman stretched the ball over the goal line, then had it knocked out of his hands by the knee of a defender.

The ruling on the field was a fumble, recovered in the end zone by Nebraksa.

There's no question that it was a close play, and could have been ruled either way. However, instant replay is in place to help with calls too close to make on the field.

The slow motion replay was clear to many, including ABC commentators Sean McDonough and Chris Spielman, who both thought the touchdown was good. Yes, the ball came out, but after Lehman appeared to break the plane of the goal line with both hands securely on the ball.

Despite what it looked like on video, it was determined that the ball was already coming out of Lehman's hands as he broke the plane. The fumble ruling was finalized and Penn State was forced to deal with its second red-zone fumble.

Running back Zach Zwinak ended a solid drive by fumbling near the goal line in the first half.

Despite the call, Penn State did get the ball back after forcing a Nebraska punt. Unfortunately, McGloin was called for intentional grounding in the end zone, giving the Cornhuskers a safety and basically ending the game.

The Nittany Lions were outplayed in the second half and were unable to stop the 'Huskers ground game. Nebraska ran all over the Penn State defense for a total of 267 yards.

After starting fast and leading 20-6 at halftime, the Lions lost their fourth game of the season. Penn State has scored first in all four losses.

The loss to the Cornhuskers can't be completely blamed on the bad fourth quarter call, but it certainly didn't help.