Goal-line fumble elicits varied PSU responses

2012-11-10T20:40:00Z 2012-11-11T02:39:03Z Goal-line fumble elicits varied PSU responsesBy RYLY JANE HAMBLETON / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

Matt McGloin seemed ready to buy into a conspiracy theory about Penn State’s fumble at the goal line in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against Nebraska.

“We're not going to get that call here. It's us against the world,” the Nittany Lions quarterback said. “We're not going to get that call ever, against any team. It doesn't matter who the referees are, we'll never get that call."

Matt Lehman caught a pass from McGloin and headed toward the goal line. Nebraska's David Santos hit him, the ball popped loose and Daimion Stafford pounced on it in the end zone to preserve a 27-23 Nebraska lead.

“We felt like it was over the goal line, but they (officials) didn’t feel like they could reverse it, they didn’t have enough evidence to reverse it,” Penn State coach Bill O’Brien said. “But we don’t feel anyone is out to get us.”

Referee John O'Neill released a statement about the play, which was reviewed.

"The ruling on the field was a fumble short of the goal line. It went to replay and the replay official said the play stood based on the views he had," O'Neill said. "It's ultimately his decision."

Wide receiver Allen Robinson said the game didn’t turn on just that play.

“You can’t go to one play in the whole second half and say that won or lost the game,” Robinson said. “They (the Huskers) were in the same situation. They fumbled on the goal line. You can’t say that lost the game.

“In the third quarter, our defense was on the field a lot. That was a big part of it. In the first half, our offense was on the field a lot and that’s when we had the lead.”

Robinson pointed to the Nittany Lions’ three turnovers, not just the one.

“When you keep giving the ball back to a team like Nebraska, they’re going to put points on the board.”

Penn State defenders said Nebraska’s second-half comeback didn’t take them by surprise. Nebraska trimmed Penn State’s lead to 20-13 when the Huskers drove for a touchdown to open the second half. After a Stafford interception, Nebraska tied the game at 20-20.

“We knew they weren’t going to roll over,” safety Jacob Fagnano said. “We knew they always considered themselves a second-half and fourth-quarter team, so we knew their surge was coming.

“A few things went their way early on (in the second half). A tipped pass landed in No. 80’s (Kenny Bell) hands to give them an extra 5 yards. The turnover hurt.”

Lehman’s fumble halted a drive that started at the PSU 25-yard line after Nebraska took its first lead of the game. It was the second Penn State turnover near the goal line. In the first quarter, Zach Swinak’s fumble at the NU 5 was recovered by Will Compton.

“He (Lehman) tried to reach it out, which we can’t do that,” O'Brien said. “He was just trying to make a play. Zach was twisting trying to gain extra yards. At the end of the day, you have to come away with scores there when you’re playing against Nebraska.”

Reach Ryly Jane Hambleton at 402-473-7314 or rhambleton@journalstar.com.

Copyright 2015 JournalStar.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.