Missed extra-point attempt and controversial fourth-down penalty in overtime send Gophers to defeat. Team must go 4-2 for the rest of the season to make an appearance in a fifth consecutive bowl game.
Players and coaches burst from the Gophers sideline, ready to celebrate an improbable comeback in a game that saw them get booed and hissed off the field at halftime.
Down and left for dead moments earlier, the Gophers somehow clawed back and appeared to make a game-saving play against a Penn State team that looked rattled by the turnaround.
The players giddily ran and jumped and ...
Stop! Flag on the field. Second life for Penn State.
"I really hope the penalty they called was a blatant foul on my guy," Gophers coach Glen Mason said.
In what has become a familiar scene for Minnesota fans, the rug got pulled out from beneath the Gophers at the most inopportune time, and the result was a 28-27 overtime loss to Penn State on Saturday before an announced Metrodome crowd of 45,227.
A controversial pass interference penalty and a missed extra-point attempt prevented the Gophers from completing the rabbit-out-of-the-hat comeback. Instead, Minnesota (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) suffered its third consecutive loss and saw its postseason hopes dealt a significant blow.
The Gophers now must go 4-2 the rest of the season in order to earn their fifth consecutive bowl trip.
"This is it for us," quarterback Bryan Cupito said. "We're just trying to make a bowl game at this point. We have to get out of this rut. We still have to play some great teams so we have to start winning."
The Gophers clearly thought they had this one won in overtime. It started when Cupito connected with Eric Decker for an acrobatic 25-yard touchdown pass. Jason Giannini, who missed eight extra-point attempts last season, banged the kick off the left upright, keeping the Gophers with a 27-21 lead.
The Gophers defense stopped Penn State (4-2, 2-1) on the first three plays, setting up fourth-and-9. Quarterback Anthony Morelli threw an out pass to Deon Butler along the sideline, and Gophers senior cornerback Trumaine Banks blanketed him and appeared to break up the pass.
The ball fell to the turf, sending the Gophers sideline into a frenzy, but the official called Banks for a pass interference on Butler's back. Replays were inconclusive as to whether Banks hit Butler before the ball arrived, although it did not seem "blatant."
Penn State scored three plays later on Tony Hunt's 2-yard run and made the extra point for the victory.
More heartbreak for the Gophers.
"Same old story," said senior receiver Logan Payne, who had a critical fourth-down catch that helped send the game into overtime. "I'm getting sick of saying that."
It's a safe bet that Minnesota will ask the Big Ten to review the pass interference call. Mason said he hadn't seen the replay before he addressed the media.
"I thought the game was over," he said.
Giannini's missed extra point will also draw scrutiny from fans and media, but his coaches and teammates rallied to his defense after the game. Giannini was unavailable for comment.
|Chicago Cubs - M. Garza||6:05 PM|
|Pittsburgh - W. Rodriguez|
|Detroit - M. Scherzer||6:05 PM|
|Cleveland - C. Kluber|
|NY Yankees - P. Hughes||6:05 PM|
|Baltimore - M. Gonzalez|
|Tampa Bay - A. Cobb||6:07 PM|
|Toronto - R. Ortiz|
|Cincinnati - M. Leake||6:10 PM|
|NY Mets - J. Niese|
|Philadelphia - T. Cloyd||6:10 PM|
|Miami - J. Fernandez|
|Minnesota - M. Pelfrey||6:10 PM|
|Atlanta - T. Hudson|
|Oakland - D. Straily||7:05 PM|
|Texas - Y. Darvish|
|Los Angeles - Z. Greinke||7:10 PM|
|Milwaukee - H. Burgos|
|Boston - F. Doubront||7:10 PM|
|Chicago WSox - J. Quintana|
|Kansas City - W. Davis||7:10 PM|
|Houston - B. Norris|
|Arizona - I. Kennedy||7:40 PM|
|Colorado - J. Chacin|
|Seattle - A. Harang||9:05 PM|
|LA Angels - J. Williams|
|St. Louis - A. Wainwright||9:10 PM|
|San Diego - E. Volquez|
|Washington - S. Strasburg||9:15 PM|
|San Francisco - M. Cain|
|Los Angeles||9:00 PM|