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Veteran Referee Says Call In Penn State vs. Michigan Was Wrong

A fired up James Franklin cheers on his team.

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 04: Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions reacts to a first half touchdown by Saeed Blacknall #13 while playing the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on November 4, 2017 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

There were a lot of heated moments in Penn State's 27-17 win over rival Michigan in Week 13, but few were as controversial as the "illegal batting" call that went against the Nittany Lions.

The play in question was a strip-fumble in the fourth quarter near the sideline that saw a Penn State player hit the ball back into the field of play for a recovery. But Penn State were given a 10-yard penalty for "illegal batting," and Michigan got a fresh set of downs.

NFL official Terry McAulay saw the play and gave his thoughts on it over the weekend. McAulay declared that the call was incorrect, and that Penn State should have been credited with the fumble recovery.

"I’ve seen the video of the illegal bat in Michigan/Penn State and the call is absolutely incorrect," McAulay said. "The player must clearly bat the ball forward for it to be a foul. He does not. He swipes at the ball in sideways motion to keep it inbounds. This is not a foul."

Had Penn State lost the game after that call, you can bet that James Franklin would have done more than refer to the call as "interesting."

The Nittany Lions held on for the win, their first of the season, against the Wolverines. It's their first winning streak against Michigan of the James Franklin era.

It wasn't without some controversy, but they got it.

Penn State gets a chance to notch another win in Week 14 against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.