LINCOLN, Neb. — Leave it to candid Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin to publicly say what others might have been thinking following Saturdays 32-23 loss to Nebraska.
Standing before a throng of reporters, McGloin was immediately asked about Matt Lehmans controversional fourth-quarter fumble.
Were not going to get that call here, McGloin said. Were not going to get the call ever, actually, against any team. It doesnt matter who the refs are.
McGloin was asked to clarify his statement.
Write what you think, he said Next question.
Did the call represent a Penn State against the world scenario?
Its us against the world and were not going to get those calls in these types of games, McGloin said. It looked to me and everyone else like he got across. I guess they saw something else.
McGloin took his argument to social media after his postgame interview, sending out a replay of the play via his Twitter account.
The officiating crew ruled that David Santos jarred the ball loose before Lehman crossed the goal line. Damion Stafford recovered the ball in the end zone. Nebraska was leading 27-23 when Stafford recvovered the ball. Only 7:39 remained.
The play went to a video review. The call on the field stood, allowing Nebraska to take over at the 20-yard line.
The ruling on the field was a fumble short of the goal line, referee John ONeill said in a statement released to reporters. It went to replay and the replay official said the play stood based on the view that he had.
McGloin was the lone Penn State player or coach made available to reporters after the game who blasted the call, although coach Bill OBrien said he thought the ball crossed the goal line.
(The referees) did not think they could reverse it though, OBrien said. There wasnt enough evidence to reverse the call.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said getting the initial call helped his team.
I know one thing that helps you in that situation is how they called it on the field, he said. You have to have indisputable evidence to overrule it, and something that is bang-bang usually ends up going how they ruled it on the field.
The play originated as a third-and-goal from the 3. Lehman, a junior who joined the program as a walk-on last year, lost the ball trying to fight his way into the end zone after catching a pass from McGloin.
We cant do that, OBrien said, but he was just trying to make a play. Good kid trying to make a play.
OBrien was then asked whether theres a conspiracy theory against Penn State. The Nittany Lions are less than four months removed from receiving major NCAA sanctions in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
We dont feel anyone is out to get us, OBrien said.
Lehman wasnt made available to reporters. Other players strayed from declaring the play as the reason for the loss. Penn State squandered a 20-6 halftime lead to drop to 6-4 overall and 4-2 in Big Ten play.
People say theres controversy, senior linebacker Michael Mauti said. We cant do anything about that. We have to hold onto the football so we cant have any question. Thats on us. We had our opportunities and didnt come out with it.
Penn State, which committted just eight turnovers in its first nine games, lost two fumbles inside Nebraskas 10-yard line and threw an interception. Nebraska committed two turnovers. The Nittany Lions entered Saturday leading the conference with a plus-9 turnover margin. Nebraska ranked last with a minus-9 margin.
The Nittany Lions other turnovers included running back Zach Zwinaks second-quarter fumble and McGloins third-quarter interception. Nebraska scored 10 points off turnovers.
We didnt execute the plays, Zwinak said. We werent careful. I didnt hold onto the ball, Matt had the fumble in the end zone and we had an intrerceptoin, too. We just werent playing like us. We have been good about that all year. We have to watch the film and understand what we did.
Follow Guy Cipriano on Twitter @cdtguy.