With 27 seconds to go the Nittany Lions found themselves just down by two with the ball and the #7 team in the country leaning on the ropes. Talor Battle surveyed the defense and thought he saw an opening. He tried to split between two defenders. Goran Suton stuck his foot out and tripped him. Battle went down. The ref choked on his whistle. The Spartans picked up the loose ball and the game was essentially over.
Let’s look at the video (click through and scroll to the 2:50 mark; embedded version no longer working):
I find the phrase “stuck his foot out and tripped him” to be problematic. I would describe the play as follows:
- A Penn State player sets a screen for Talor Battle.
- Goran Suton hedges out, arriving in front of Battle in time to plant both feet (in a crouched stance) a split second before Battle arrives.
- Battle tries to slip between the screener and Suton. In the process, he falls down and loses the ball.
- There appears to be some contact between Suton’s leg and Battle, but Suton clearly did not stick his leg out to trip Battle.
- The only call the ref could made would have been blocking, but since Battle was adjusting to the screener as much as he was to Suton, it’s hard to see that call.
Perhaps I’m seeing the play through green-colored lenses (and we won, so I should probably just let it go), but I’d be curious to hear where Penn State fans disagree with the bullets above.