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Franklin responds to Iowa’s Ferentz, denied faking injuries

Franklin responds to Iowa’s Ferentz, denied faking injuries
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Penn State’s James Franklin denied any of his defensive players pretended to be injured during the Iowa game — detailing each one who went down — in response to Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz indicating he was suspicious of some of the stoppages in play.

“How does this strategy make sense against a huddle team?” Franklin said, referring to the methodical style of Iowa’s offense. “People use this strategy to slow people down. Spread offenses, tempo offenses. They huddle. So that strategy did not make sense in this situation.“

Iowa fans booed while several Penn State players were being treated for injuries on the field during the Hawkeyes 23-20 victory Saturday.

Ferentz on Tuesday acknowledged that some of the Penn State players had legitimate injuries but defended the Iowa fans, saying they “smelled a rat.”

“I’ve been here 23 years and I think that’s only the second time we’ve seen that kind of stuff going on.”

Franklin’s response came Wednesday in a 12-minute session with reporters, during which he listed each player who was banged up and questioned how it would have benefited Penn State to remove some of its best players from the game. At least three of the players did not return to the game after going down.

If a player is treated for an injury on the field that causes the game to be stopped, the player must leave the field for at least one play.

“In our six years of playing them, six years straight — 4-2 with our record — has that ever shown up? Has anyone seen that? In my eight years as a head coach, has anyone seen that? Has that shown up at Penn State? My 12 years as a head coach, has that shown up? It has not shown up.”

The most serious injury suffered by Penn State on Saturday was to defensive tackle PJ Mustipher, who is out for the season. Mustipher, who has been Penn State’s best interior defensive lineman, appeared to sustain a leg injury.

Penn State head coach James Franklin looks to the scoreboard during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa won 23-20.

“Put yourself in the shoes of a parent,” Franklin said. “Your son is down on the field for an injury and the stadium is booing him. ... Your son is down on the field with an injury — and I just told you PJ Mustipher is done for the year — and we’re booing. Is that good for college football?”

Penn State also lost quarterback Sean Clifford late in the first half. The senior did not play in the second half. Frankin did not give an update on Clifford’s status or provide details on his injury, as is his custom for those not believed to be season-ending.
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