The Nittany Lions hit another bump in their road to recovery last week with a 32-23 loss to Nebraska.
Although once again a questionable call by the officials might of had something to do with that. With PSU down 27-23 with 8:45 left and at the Nebraska 3-yard line, Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin completed a short pass to tight end Matt Lehman who most certainly crossed the goal before losing possession of the football. However, the officials did not see it that way and Nebraska recovered the so-called fumble in the endzone.
The Nittany Lions had their chances after that, but couldn't convert and also had a two touchdown lead at halftime. Good teams cannot let leads get away from them, especially on the road so when it comes down to it the game cannot be soley based on the bad call made by the officials. Although it was a call that certainly swung the momentum back towards the Cornhuskers.
PSU quarterback Matt McGloin as one could imagine was not thrilled with the outcome of the game nor the call and made some pretty controversial comments to the media. When asked about the call McGloin had this to say.
"We're not going to get that call ever, against any team," McGloin said after the game, via USA Today. "It doesn't matter who the referees are." When asked for further comment, he said "Why do you think it is? Write what you think."
McGloin's comments can definitely be seen as insinuating that the Nittany Lions are not going to receive a fair shake from officials this season due to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal that rocked the community last year. Needless to say Coach Bill O'Brien has nipped this situation in the bud, taking McGloin off the weekly media list for the Indiana game. O'Brien has been nothing but business since taking over the PSU program and it's not surprising he wants to limit any distractions that could affect his football team.
"We're moving on to Indiana here so I really just want to try to focus on the Indiana game," said O'Brien. "Of course, we try to talk to our guys about, just overall at the beginning of the season and then weekly about making sure that they understand what their media obligations are and things like that. At the end of the day, it's a free country and Matt can say what he wants, and that's what he did. He's an emotional kid but, look, it's time to move on to Indiana and that's it."
O'Brien surely has the right mindset as the Hoosiers are coming into Happy Valley a much improved squad (Big Ten Network 12:00 p.m. ET).
The Hoosiers offense can put points up on the board, averaging 31 points per game and they also can pile up the yards as well, tallying 431 total yards of offense per contest. Indiana put up 49 points earlier in the season to the Buckeyes defense so you know their offense has the ability to play well against a talented defense.
"Offensively they run a very, very fast tempo, I mean ultra fast, and they try and run between 90 and 100 plays in a game, so that's a huge challenge for our defense this week and special teams," said Bill O'Brien. "We feel like we have to play well on special teams because they're going to come to play on special teams and we're going to do the best we can to get an edge there. Kevin Wilson has done an excellent job with that program from when he got there to where it is now, so it's going to be a tough game for us on Saturday."
The Penn State secondary will be the unit most tested later today when the Nittany Lions and Hoosiers hit the field.
The Hoosiers' Cameron Coffman is 183 of 295 for 1932 yds and 12 touchdowns this season. His top target Cody Latimer is a serious threat at the receiver spot averaging over 16 yards per catch. Latimer had 44 catches for 707 yards and five touchdowns. Coffman also has another formidable option in Kofi Hughes, who has 36 catches for 502 yds and three scores this season.
On the flip side Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson is looking to yet again install himself within the PSU record books this week. The sensational sophomore needs just one more catch to break the single-season reception record. He is currently tied with All-Americans Bobby Engram (1995) and O.J. McDuffie (1992) with 63 receptions.
Matt McGloin has also been added to the list of candidates for the Burlsworth Award, presented to the nation's outstanding college football player who began his career as a walk-on. The Burlsworth Trophy is presented in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, a former All-American and walk-on offensive lineman at the University of Arkansas. Burlsworth died in an automobile accident 11 days after being selected by the Indianapolis Colts as the 63rd overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.
McGloin's statistics speak for themselves with the senior completing 229 of 377 passes for 2,676 yds and 19 touchdowns to just 4 interception. McGloin and Robinson's production this season couldn't have been predicted Nastradamus himself. It just goes to show that the Penn State hire of Bill O'Brien might be the most important hire in all of sports in a very long time.
The Nittany Lions have two more games left in what has been one heck of an entertaining season in Happy Valley. It's been one emotional moments after another. The panic that seemed to set in after an 0-2 start, O'Brien's first win as a head coach, the dramatic comeback vs. Northwestern, and the hysterical atmosphere during the Ohio State game. All these moments have meshed together to create a unforgettable season. A season that most pegged to be a disaster before the Nittany Lions even ran onto the field. The Nittany Lions have two more games and if the prior games are any indication of what it is to come than PSU faithful should be excited to see what the future holds.