SEC issues a correction about crew after game

STATE COLLEGE — One of the more bizarre calls in recent memory took place Saturday when an officials’ error cost Penn State a down in the first half.

The Southeastern Conference issued a correction about its crew after the game.

Following a first-down deep pass with no Nittany Lion in the vicinity that was called intentional grounding (and loss of down), Penn State ran one more play and punted despite James Franklin protesting.

But it should have been third down, the officials ruled afterward.

The down indicator on the sidelines was also wrong.

Franklin declined comment at halftime, but said later, “We won the penalty battle (five to Auburn’s six), but that’s another story for another day.”

On loss of down in first half, he said, “They all agreed on the call and so did the replay. They all agreed. And I kept bringing them over and saying it’s not accurate. I don’t know what else I can tell you, but they all concurred with the officials. They got the headset, they talked to each other, they all agreed. They ran it by replay, they agreed as well. I don’t know what else I can do or what else I can say.”

• The SEC’s statement:

At 11:45 in the second quarter, Penn State throws an incomplete pass that was judged to be intentional grounding. The crew’s enforcement of the penalty erroneously set the down to third; the correct down should have been second. The replay booth was consulted to confirm the down prior to the punt. The replay booth had the down as fourth down as well.

The error was discovered during the media timeout that followed the punt and by rule it could not be corrected at that time.

Intersectional games typically use officials from the visiting team’s conference affiliation. When the Lions visit Auburn in 2022, the game will be officiated by a Big Ten crew.


• With wins over No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 22 Auburn, Penn State has two wins over ranked teams within the first three games of the season for the first time in program history.

• The Lions improved to 7-6 in whiteout games and 5-5 when ESPN GameDay is on campus.

• Attendance was the 10th largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history.


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