Northwestern fell to Nebraska 13-10 today, giving up a last-second game-winning field goal to the Huskers. Pat Fitzgerald has a major gripe on the play that gave the Huskers a chance to win the game.
Tied 10-10, from the Nebraska 48 yard line, Northwestern’s promising late drive was cut short. Aidan Smith’s 2nd and 1 pass was intercepted by Lamar Jackson, and returned to the Wildcats’ 49.
Six plays and 42 yards later, Lane McCallum became the hero for the Huskers. After missing a chip shot earlier in the game, he knocked home a 24-yard game-winner at the buzzer.
Fitzgerald and, I imagine, most others in the Northwestern community are not thrilled with the officiating on that interception. There certainly looked to be a lot of contact between Huskers linebacker Will Honas and Smith’s intended target, Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman before the ball sailed right to Jackson.
Judge for yourself:
No pass interference here? pic.twitter.com/bUrhmtfn7g
— Dustin Schutte (@SchutteCFB) October 5, 2019
A closer look at the contact:
I mean… he absolutely mugged him pic.twitter.com/V1TTFiNyXa
— Randy Scott (@RandyScottESPN) October 5, 2019
After the game, Pat Fitzgerald certainly seemed to think that there was an uncalled pass interference penalty on that play.
During his press conference, he even hinted that he wished there was an NFL-style rule in place that would have allowed him to challenge whether interference took place.
The NFL instituted that rule this year, to very mixed reactions thus far.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is speaking now. Says he saw pass interference on Lamar Jackson’s interception.
“I’d like to throw a red flag there. Wouldn’t that be nice?” pic.twitter.com/oOkTwQRtxh
— Matt Hardesty (@hardestymatt12) October 5, 2019
More, from Fitzgerald on the play, via Inside NU:
“It looked from my vantage point like it wasn’t very good. It was a bang-bang play, bang-bang miss.”
Of course, Northwestern had plenty of other opportunities to win the game, which the head coach also pointed out at his press conference. The Wildcats also had a short missed field goal late that would have changed the complexion of the last few drives.
Still, it looks like the Huskers really got away with one there.