Within the disjointed soccer autumn that’s 2020, it by some means makes excellent sense that defenders had been left celebrating touchdowns by working backs who by accident reached the top zone.
Twice in a single weekend, as soon as within the Massive Ten on Saturday, which led to Indiana’s beautiful 36-35 win over Penn State in additional time, and the opposite within the NFL on Sunday, when the Atlanta Falcons — who else? — flopped their means by means of one more fourth-quarter fiasco in shedding to the appreciative Lions 23-22.
The Falcons ought to have discovered their lesson from the Nittany Lions 24 hours earlier.
Penn State’s Devyn Ford obtained the hand-off with a 1-point lead on the Hoosiers 14 and just one:42 to play in Bloomington within the rivals’ first sport of the coronavirus-delayed season. The third-string tailback slowed as he approached the aim line.
If solely he went down, the Nittany Lions may have run out the clock as a result of Indiana had only one timeout left.
As an alternative, the sophomore tip-toed into the top zone, giving Penn State an eight-point lead however leaving Indiana simply sufficient time to tie it and drive additional time, which they did with a landing and 2-point conversion.
The Hoosiers then gained it on one other 2-point conversion when quarterback Michael Penix Jr. rolled left and dived, barely touching the pylon with the soccer in his outstretched proper hand and giving Indiana its first win over a top-10 group in 33 years.
Penn State coach James Franklin defended his working again and refused responsible the ill-advised landing for the excruciating loss. However he additionally indicated his gamers had been instructed to not rating in that scenario.
“We went by means of that scenario this week, we went by means of that scenario on the sideline and, clearly, we may have dealt with it higher, and I may have dealt with it higher,” Franklin mentioned. “However I don’t wish to make it about that one play.”
Teammate Pat Freiermuth consoled Ford afterward, imploring him to “keep off social media, head down and simply flush it down, and I’ll have your again regardless.”
“I’ve been in his sneakers in highschool as soon as,” Freiermuth defined. “It’s very arduous to see that finish zone open up like that and simply assume to your self, ‘Get down.’”
If it makes Ford really feel any higher, Todd Gurley II made the identical mistake Sunday.
The Lions let Gurley rating with simply over a minute remaining to get the ball again, giving Matthew Stafford sufficient time to drive the Lions to the successful TD as time expired.
T.J. Hockenson’s 11-yard TD seize tied it and Matt Prater nailed a 48-yard further level to present the Lions a 23-22 win after an extreme celebration penalty moved the ball to the 30-yard line.
Trailing 16-14, the Falcons had been making an attempt to run down the clock and kick a chip-shot discipline aim for the win once they picked up a primary down on the Lions 10 with simply over a minute remaining.
The Lions had used up all their timeouts on the drive, so their solely hope was to permit a fast TD and so they obtained out of the best way as Gurley took the handoff from Matt Ryan. Solely security Will Harris obtained a hand on the runner however he launched Gurley about three yards shy of the aim line.
“It was nice situational protection consciousness proper there,” Lions coach Matt Patricia beamed.
Gurley realized what the Lions had been doing and tried to go down shy of the top zone, however his momentum carried him too far as he landed on the aim line along with his ball-carrying left hand.
As Gurley fell throughout the aim line, Lions linebacker Jamie Collins signaled landing as his teammates celebrated round him.
“My job is simply taking place,” Gurley lamented. “I’m taking all of the duty.”
The Falcons transformed a 2-point conversion to make it 22-16, however Stafford had simply sufficient time to ship one other beautiful fourth-quarter dagger to the Falcons, who fired their head coach earlier this month after changing into the primary group to ever blow back-to-back 15-point fourth-quarter leads.
“I used to be mad as hell,” Gurley mentioned of his game-losing landing. “I used to be making an attempt to not (rating), however my momentum took me in. It’s type of loopy.”
And so excellent for 2020.
With contributions from AP Nationwide Author Paul Newberry and AP Sports activities Author Michael Marot.
Comply with Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
Extra AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Detroit Lions linebacker Jamie Collins (58) indicators “landing” as Atlanta Falcons working again Todd Gurley tries to cease wanting the top zone to regulate the ultimate minutes of the clock within the fourth quarter of an NFL soccer sport Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Structure through AP)
Atlanta Falcons’ Todd Gurley tries to cease wanting the top zone throughout the fourth quarter of an NFL soccer sport in opposition to the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Atlanta. Gurley landed on the aim line for a landing that, because it turned out, led to a different beautiful loss for the Atlanta Falcons. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Structure through AP)
Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) celebrates after Indiana defeated Penn State in additional time of an NCAA school soccer sport, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Bloomington, Ind. Indiana gained 36-35 in additional time. (AP Picture/Darron Cummings)
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