James Franklin had a perfect response to a question about a mistake by the referees during Saturday night’s game.
Franklin’s Penn State Nittany Lions were leading Auburn 10-7 in the second quarter. They had the ball for a first-and-10 from their 28. Quarterback Sean Clifford threw the ball downfield with nobody around and was called for intentional grounding. Clifford seemed to think his receiver was going to head deep, but that didn’t happen, resulting in the ball being thrown where nobody was.
But the issue is what happened next.
Penn State should have had a second-and-16 following the loss of down and penalty at the spot of the foul. Penn State then completed a five-yard pass to make it third-and-11. But there was some confusion on the field as the refs were signaling it was fourth down.
The officials even convened and said the right down was fourth down. They robbed Penn State of a play! And that was happening as Franklin was livid all along, trying to tell the officials that the grounding penalty was called on first down.
Penn State ended up punting on third-and-11.
Franklin was asked by ESPN’s Holly Rowe at halftime what explanation he received from the officials. His look of disgust said it all.