The Return of the Blue/White Roundtable
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It’s an institution of the Penn State blogosphere, and sure enough, it’s back for the 2011 season. That’s right, what we’ve got here is a genuine, bona-fide, electrified Blue/White Roundtable. There might be fewer seats, …

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What’s Wrong With These Pictures?

Submitted by on September 14, 201034 Comments

Again, I just want to make it entirely clear–officiating was not the reason we lost to Alabama. They were a better football team, and they proved it.  However, that does not absolve Dave Witvoet’s incompetent crew.  But now there’s video evidence that proves that two plays–two huge pivotal game changers–were simply blown by the refs.

This is a picture of the first play I talked about–on 3rd and 8 inside the Alabama red zone, Rob Bolden was under pressure, and he tossed one up for grabs.  Chaz Powell was the intended target, and while he was being held off by cornerback DeQuan Menzie, Will Lowery sneaks right in to intercept the pass.  This is a screenshot of what I’m talking about–you can’t tell but the ball is in the air.  Take a look at the top of screen, right at about the 4 yard line.  Powell is clearly being pushed off the ball while Lowery comes over the top.  If that isn’t pass interference, I don’t know what is.

Here’s another play I wrote about Sunday in the recap, about how Alabama linebacker Ed Stinson was clearly offsides at the time of the snap.  This play would later result in Chaz Powell’s fumble and the crazy ensuing aftermath, but as the picture clearly shows, this should’ve been a free play.  Ben at Victory Bell Rings snapped this shot just as the ball was snapped, and you can see the issue.  Now, I’m well aware that this had no bearing on the fumble itself, but it was a heinous call that royally screwed over Penn State.   Down 14-0, if they call that it’s now 2nd and 1 from the 11.  That’s a very likely chance to get 7 and climb back into the game.

I understand, bad calls happen.  And I further understand that even if these plays are called correctly, there’s still a very small likelihood of Penn State “shocking the world,” and pulling off the upset.  I want to make it very clear to the Alabama fans coming across this: this is not sour grapes. We did not deserve to win the game, in any way, shape, or form.

What this is, is an airing of grievances at the Big Ten officials, who have been a consistently vexing presence.  Their pure incompetence cost Penn State dearly on Saturday night, but it could happen to any team on any night.  It’s not an agenda, it’s idiocy, and it’s plays like these–easy to call, blatant ones–that should be called right in a peewee game. That had every single fan watching at home wondering when the flag is coming.

I guess my point is that Penn State played pretty darn well on Saturday.  That’s 6 points, probably 10 that are taken off the board by unconscionable officiating.  How much better would you feel if Penn State had played the #1 team and lost 24-13?  If it’s 17-10, not 17-0, at the half?  If we’re in it going into the fourth?

And with this, I’m closing the book on Alabama.  Kent State’s up next.

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  • Darenp124

    The second play you talk about reminds me of us at the rose bowl against USC. One of our DEs lined up offsides and forced a mark Sanchez fumble. Fortunately for USC the refs caught the call and the fumble was negated. We weren’t so lucky. But you’re right. We were beaten by a much better team, but is it too much to ask for competent officiating though?

  • Bely4

    yes may have bad calls, but as a penn state fan i think it had nothing to do with the game. alabama could have done anything they wanted against us. they could have scored 40 if they wanted to

  • APennStateFan

    I was impressed with how well Penn State was able to move the ball on offense and I was equally disheartened how poorly the defense played. I’ve been watching Penn State since the early sixties and this was one of the worst performances of tackling and pursuit I have seen. That said, who knows the momentum Penn State would have gained had they scored on that first drive. That blown call…pass interference…may very well have been a game changer or at least changed the closeness of the game. And if Penn State scores the second drive (if the offsides is called) Alabama is forced to return a kickoff.

    But, given Alabama’s offense and the way they ran through and passed over the Penn State defense even if the game was close…I don’t think Alabama loses this game.

    But, is it any surprise the Big 10 officials blew calls against Penn State? They’ve been doing it since Penn State joined the league. Having watched other conferences I can’t tell if it is just bad calls against Penn State or the ineptitude of the Big 10 officials.as a whole.

  • Lionjds

    My kids were looking at me like I was insane when I jumped up and yelled “PASS INTERFERENCE!!!!” at the TV. I couldn’t believe that it was that blatant, and they missed it. I hoped it had been tipped and I missed it, but no. The ball was in the air, on the way, and he was shoved toward the sideline. Disgusting. I agree, outcome probably the same, but give us a chance!

  • Bamafan

    I agree with you all. There were terrible calls all around and what looked to me like some pretty bad ball spotting. You all show a lot of class giving kudos to the Alabama team and saying you might have lost anyway, had those calls been made correctly. I know things could have been different and we could have easily lost the game regardless of how good we might be. This is college football (the greatest sport in the world) and I know how important a change in momentum can drastically change the outcome, no matter how the teams match up in strength and talent.

    Hey, this is Penn State and Joe Paterno we’re talking about here…Yeah, you got screwed by the officials but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you guys went undefeated the rest of the season. I hope so. Thanks for being the good sports you are!

  • Workemsilly

    And IF my uncle had tits he’d be my aunt.

  • Ryano34

    I’m not going to try to excuse either one of those calls, no need in it. My gripe is with the fumble that was returned ALL the way down, the refs said it was Bama’s ball, which was the correct call, then reviewed it, so the call on the field stands, then gives Penn State the ball. I’ve watched that several times and still can’t figure out what in the world the refs were thinking.

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com/ Charlie

    The ref even gestured towards Alabama when announcing the results of the review and next thing we know, Penn State is lined up on offense.

  • Guest

    I agree with the offsides, but not the pass interference. The ball was uncatchable

  • Pplips

    How about on the first or second drive when the refs called Devon Smiths’ catch a trap, ending the drive?

  • Anonymous

    At first, I thought so too. That’s because Powell is about 5 yards away when the ball is caught. But the entire time the ball is in the air, he’s getting pushed towards the sideline. Look at the above picture–he’d be in a position to go up for the ball if he wasn’t being taken out of the play.

  • Nate

    I think we might have still lost, but it makes me deel kinda sick thinking “what is”!

  • Nate

    I meant “what if”!

  • Tds5043

    Ref was sofar out of position in the first picture, it’s INEXCUSABLE.

  • Anonymous

    And even so, he’s staring RIGHT AT Powell and Menzie. Really makes you wonder how he could not throw the flag.

  • Former Ref

    The LB was definitely offside! The other call, er, non-call of pass interference COULD be holding; however, who is holding who. This “hand fighting” is common between receivers & DBs. There are at least three officials (HL, SJ, & BJ) watching this play. Hard to believe they all got it wrong. Do you think the SEC Officials would have made different calls?

  • Anonymous

    We have a highlight reel in the post just above this one–if you are a former ref, I’d love to get your input. The play in question is at about 2:05

  • Jdf

    Wow, this is just sad…take your loss like men. Or at least, as well as PSU fans can take it.

  • Diamond2055

    How can you say the “ball was uncatchable” when it was, in fact, caught? Granted, it was caught by a defender, but still… it was CAUGHT! It wasn’t like the ball was thrown out of bounds. The point of pass interference or the more likely call in this case of defensive holding is that if the foul did not occur, the pass could have been caught by the offensive player.

  • SECorBust

    Big 10 officials suck there’s nothing new to report here, but you can’t tell that much from a couple of still images regarding PI. Stinson does look offsides, but he’s a backup and the game was well in hand by that point. My wife said that she thought that Saban looked a little dissappointed postgame because Poe Pa didn’t score more. LOL – and she’s an Auburn fan.

  • SECorBust

    Big 10 officials suck there’s nothing new to report here, but you can’t tell that much from a couple of still images regarding PI. Stinson does look offsides, but he’s a backup and the game was well in hand by that point. My wife said that she thought that Saban looked a little dissappointed postgame because Poe Pa didn’t score more. LOL – and she’s an Auburn fan.

  • Anonymous

    “Again, I just want to make it entirely clear–officiating was not the reason we lost to Alabama. They were a better football team, and they proved it.”You read, oh, about as well as I’d expect an Alabaman to.

  • Bmihalik

    A few other calls were missed. #1 There was an obvious hold that should have been called on Alabama on one of their drives. Nate Stupar #34 had a clear shot at the QB but was grabbed by the back of his jersey by the offesive tackle. #2 One the first TD by alabama the WR did a front flip into the endzone. It is a new rule this year that if you “show boat” by doing a front flip into the endzone it is an automatic personal foul (15 yards) that is assessed on the kicked.

  • Bmihalik

    A few other calls were missed. #1 There was an obvious hold that should have been called on Alabama on one of their drives. Nate Stupar #34 had a clear shot at the QB but was grabbed by the back of his jersey by the offesive tackle. #2 One the first TD by alabama the WR did a front flip into the endzone. It is a new rule this year that if you “show boat” by doing a front flip into the endzone it is an automatic personal foul (15 yards) that is assessed on the kicked.

  • Anonymous

    You’re absolutely correct on both counts, but those aren’t as easy to capture in still frame! The holding on Stupar was so bad that Brent Musberger even brought it up, and the flip into the end zone, well, I don’t agree with the rule but it should be enforced. It was a horrendously officiated game, but that’s just par for the course with Witvoet.

  • Bmihalik

    I don’t agree with the rule either, but the ref’s are to call the game by the rules.

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com/ Charlie

    The rule to assess live-ball penalties on taunting as players finish touchdown runs was pass this past offseason, but will not be in effect until 2011.

  • Anonymous

    No, Charlie–next year they’ll take the TD off the board. But this year, as was last year, that’s supposed to be a 15-yard taunting penalty. Remember in the Syracuse game, when they called that on Stephfon Green for POINTING AT THE SKY?

  • TexarBama

    Well it’s nice to see 2 great schools play and most fans come away agreeing about at least 2 things: The ref’s SUCKED and Bama would have won anyway.

  • jman

    well in hand!? how was the game “well in hand” in the 2nd quarter and only a 2 score difference? a td there makes it 14-7..while alabama was and is the better team, by no means is a potential one score game “well in hand”

  • Phil C

    This is one case where a picture doesn’t tell the whole story. When I first saw the interception, shown from the angle in the first picture, I also thought it was pass interference. However, immediately following the play, a replay from a different angle showed very little, if any contact. The Bama defender was beginning to look back towards the ball, he began raising his arms thinking that the pass was coming in. At the same time… the PSU receiver was coming towards the errant throw. The two passed each other and it was clear that there was no contact to warrant a flag.

  • Phil C

    This is one case where a picture doesn’t tell the whole story. When I first saw the interception, shown from the angle in the first picture, I also thought it was pass interference. However, immediately following the play, a replay from a different angle showed very little, if any contact. The Bama defender was beginning to look back towards the ball, he began raising his arms thinking that the pass was coming in. At the same time… the PSU receiver was coming towards the errant throw. The two passed each other and it was clear that there was no contact to warrant a flag.

  • Anonymous

    Phil, we have highlights of the game in a post directly above this one. The play we’re talking about occurs at 2:05 of that video. In it, you’ll see that there is clear contact–the Alabama defender holding off Chaz Powell.

  • SECorBust

    That game was over at kickoff. I spent the second quarter getting concessions.