YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – It was due to happen sooner or later. Bo Pelini losing his cool to the point of being downright embarrassing.
It happened during his seven years as head football coach at Nebraska. And it happened again Saturday as the head coach of Youngstown State-a team fighting for its playoff life but letting a 14-point fourth-quarter lead disappear before losing to North Dakota State 27-24.
Known for his F-bomb tirades at Nebraska, Pelini could be heard using the F-bomb when he started arguing a pass interference call that set up NDSU's game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds remaining.
By the time the game ended, Pelini was flagged for two unsportsmanlike penalty calls-pushing his offense back to the 4-yard line and all but ending any hopes of a game-tying field goal try for Youngstown. It's not like they had to go the length of the field. With the wind and record-setting kicker Zak Kennedy, two big plays would have turned the trick. Instead, thanks to Bo's penalties, the Penguins had their backs to their own goal line.
When asked in the postgame news conference what he thought of the pass interference call, Pelini-as cold-faced as he often is-said:
"It's pretty obvious, isn't it?" Pelini said.
After a long pause, Pelini then looked at the reporter: "What were your thoughts on the pass interference call?"
When asked if the officials gave him an explanation, Pelini said:
"No .... they didn't give me an explanation on anything. There is no explanation."
When asked why the officials flagged him for the two unsportsmanlike penalties, Pelini said:
"They didn't like the way I was talking to them. Because I told them .... well, I'm not going to get into it."
Too late, Bo. You already got into it when you started throwing one of your patented tirades that, many argue, cost you your job at Nebraska.
This isn't the first time Bo has been flagged during his first year as Youngstown's head coach.
In a 31-29 home loss to Illinois State, a replay review negated a 2-point conversion that would have tied the score late in the game. That didn't make Bo happy, even though some at Youngstown agree that the review showed the runner's knee was down before scoring the 2-point conversion.
What got Bo even angrier was his team's onside kick that was apparently batted out of bounds by Illinois State. That's a no-no. But there was no call. Bo got flagged for another outburst.
In a 38-31 overtime loss at Southern Illinois, another late-game pass interference call sent Bo over the edge. Bo got flagged again.
We shouldn't be surprised by all of this.
This is the Bo Pelini who once called an Omaha World-Herald reporter "a piece of s....." and was heard commenting about a World-Herald columnist "f.... him."
Then there was the infamous audiotape released after a loss to UCLA in 2011. Pelini said he didn't know he was being recorded at the time, but you still don't say things like this:
"It took everything in my power to not say 'F... you fans. F... all of you. F... 'em. Our crowd, what a bunch of f..... fair-weather fans. They can all kiss my a... out the f.... door."
Two days after he was fired by Nebraska last December, an audio recording of his last meeting with the Huskers players was released on the same day he was supposed to be introduced as Youngstown's new coach. Another tirade was directed toward Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst.
"You can't lead anything under a f.... rock," the tape revealed Pelini saying. "I'd rather work at McDonald's than work with these guys."
There is a McDonald's located right across the street from Youngstown's Stambaugh Stadium that Bo could work at. But odds are, Pelini will probably land another head coaching job at a lower-level FBS school that is looking to hire a marquee name. Never mind that extra baggage.
It's really too bad Bo couldn't turn a new leaf and act somewhat human. His Youngstown State defense was good-limiting the vaunted Bison offense to 43 yards rushing in the first half when the Penguins built a 14-3 lead. His offense was explosive enough to build 24-10 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Bo seemed pretty calm during all of this. Then came the play in which a replay photo shows Kenneth Durden yanking the jersey of Bison wide receiver Nate Moody. The official who threw the flag was right there.
But Bo went nuts. Bo got flagged. And Bo-who had a 7-17 record against ranked opponents during his tenure at Nebraska-could not win another big game. And Bo blamed it on the refs.
"I wish the kids could've decided it," Bo said afterwards.
I wish-and I suspect some Youngstown boosters, too-that Bo would've decided to act like a good sport instead of the raving lunatic. One that we have unfortunately come to expect.