The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Bo Pelini suffers another meltdown in Youngstown State loss to NDSU

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Bo Pelini earned a reputation as a fairly combustible figure on the sideline during seven seasons leading Nebraska’s program. Now he’s at Youngstown State, and it does not appear that the coach has mellowed out very much.

[NDSU’s Zach Vraa makes an absurd catch around stunned defender]

The Penguins were squaring off Saturday in a big game against North Dakota State, the second-ranked team and defending champion at the FCS level. Late in the fourth quarter, the visiting Bison were leading by just three points, 27-24, when YSU got the ball back at its own 30.

There were just 29 seconds left in the game at that point, but it appeared that the Penguins would at least have a shot at tying things up. However, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed YSU back 15 yards, and two incomplete passes were followed by a sack.

That left YSU with a fourth-and-33 from its own 7-yard line, at which point it was hit with yet another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. That simply added insult to injury in what would turn out to be a painfully close loss, but the worst thing was that both penalties were called on Pelini himself, who was upset at a pass-interference call on the previous series that helped NDSU score the game-winning touchdown.

The coach had been jawing at officials from the sideline at many points during the game, and apparently they decided they’d had enough, punishing Pelini at a crucial moment. “They didn’t like the way I was talking to them.” Pelini said afterwards.

Not surprisingly, the popular Twitter account Faux Pelini — created during his Nebraska days but sticking around to chronicle the coach’s Youngstown State era — had a field day.

It was a frustrating loss in many ways for Pelini, whose Penguins led 14-3 at halftime and 24-10 after three quarters. Here is footage of Pelini’s post-game comments.