MSU Falls 28-24 . . . And Players Slam 'A Bad Call by the Refs'
Open bitterness erupted from angry Spartan players who blame a 28-24 loss to Nebraska on a pass-interference call against Darqueze Dennard of MSU late in the game.
That whistle, halting a pass from Taylor Martinez to Kenny Bell, "proved as pivotal as it was poor, upon further review," columnist John Niyo writes in The Detroit News.
There was no interference from Dennard as he reached to make a play on the ball. But there was a flag. And instead of a 37-yard field goal attempt to tie the game in the final minute, the Cornhuskers had it first-and-goal at the MSU 5 with 17 seconds left.
Even so, Niyo winces at outbursts that followed:
"They've certainly got a legitimate reason to whine, though the players taking to Twitter to vent their frustrations after the game -- Le'Veon Bell, Denzel Drone and others -- certainly got out of hand Saturday night.
How out of hand? Drone tweeted: "It's easy to be a referee just call what you see. it ain't that hard if it ain't clear don't call it." Running back Bell's is here:
"ShoutOut to the refs…y'all won the game tonight! Toughest team we played all year."
In the locker room at Spartan Stadium, senior tackle Anthony Rashad White addressed the pass interference flag: "I think that was a bad call by the refs, honestly.
Coach Mark Dantonio called it "probably one of the toughest games I've experienced. This one hurts."
Niyo tells why:
Referee Bill LeMonnier's crew made its presence felt in a game that featured 18 penalties for 192 yards, more than a few of which had coaches on both sidelines enraged.
For the home team, it wasn't just the controversial pass-interference penalty that was viewed as game-changing, either. There also was a 96-yard interception return by Dennard — one of two picks for the junior cornerback Saturday — that was called back after a questionable flag for a personal foul on Johnny Adams blocking on the return.
Dantonio protested vehemently — and understandably, based on the replay.