Ref mix-up forces Penn State to punt prematurely

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Ref mix-up forces Penn State to punt prematurely

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — An apparent officiating mix-up by an SEC crew cost Penn State a down on an offensive series during the first half of Saturday’s 28-20 victory over Auburn.

Trailing 10-7 early in the second quarter, Penn State punted to Auburn after referee James Carter ruled it was fourth-and-11. The Nittany Lions had been flagged for intentional grounding on first down, an automatic loss-of-down foul.

On second-and-16, quarterback Sean Clifford found wide receiver Jahan Dotson for a 5-yard gain. But then Carter announced the next play as fourth down and Penn State brought punter Jordan Stout onto the field.

Carter has been an SEC official since 2010, and served as head referee for the 2019 SEC championship game.

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