SEC Releases Statement After Penn State Loses Down over Referee Error vs. Auburn

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 19, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Penn State Nittany Lions Tight End Tyler Warren (44) leaps over a line of players for a touchdown during the second half of the College Football game between the Auburn Tigers and the Penn State Nittany Lions on September 18, 2021, at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The SEC released a statement saying the officiating crew made an error that cost Penn State a down in the second quarter in Saturday's game against Auburn.

An official set the down marker to third down after Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford was called for intentional grounding on a first-down pass. The mistake resulted in Penn State punting on what should have been third down.

Adam Rittenberg @ESPNRittenberg

SEC statement acknowledges the officiating error regarding downs in the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PennState?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PennState</a>-<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Auburn?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Auburn</a> game: <a href="https://t.co/iHFN96tOlJ">pic.twitter.com/iHFN96tOlJ</a>

"I talked to all of [the officials] and they said, look, they all agreed on the call, and so did the replay [official]," Penn State head coach James Franklin told reporters after the game. "They all agreed. I kept bringing them over and saying, 'It's not accurate.' I don't know what else I can tell them, but they all concurred, all the officials, they got on the headset, they talked to each other and they all agreed. They ran it by replay and they all agreed as well. I don't know what else I can do or say."

Onward State @OnwardState

Here’s James Franklin on the series where referees seemed to take a down away from Penn State: <a href="https://t.co/TUfn5wrYEC">pic.twitter.com/TUfn5wrYEC</a>

While the error came with Penn State trailing 10-7, the mistake did not ultimately factor in the result. The Lions scored a touchdown on their next offensive possession to go into the locker room ahead 14-10 and never trailed again in their 28-20 victory.

That said, it was a rough night for the officiating crew overall, with several missed or mistaken calls that left both sides frustrated. Penn State running back Noah Cain appeared to have been stopped for a safety late in the fourth quarter that would have made the score 28-22, but officials said he made it out of the Lions goal line. Penn State punted later in the possession and held on defensively for its second win over a Top 25 team this season.