Eighth-ranked Penn State just lost 36-35 in overtime to Indiana in its season opener. James Franklin is drawing a ton of scrutiny in defeat.
Franklin’s game and clock management have come under fire in the past, and that’s what is being ridiculed tonight as well. It all started after Penn State, leading 21-20, forced Indiana to turn the ball over on downs with under two minutes remaining.
The Nittany Lions took over at the IU 14-yard line with 1:47 left and the Hoosiers holding only one timeout. Instead of kneeling the ball, Franklin elected to hand off to sophomore running back Devyn Ford.
Smartly, Indiana head coach Tom Allen directed his team to let any Penn State ball carrier score, which would enable his team to get the ball back. Ford, not realizing what was happening until it was too late, played right into this strategy.
Hey James Franklin, sure you don’t want to down this out now? Incredible incompetence by him. Deserves to lose https://t.co/qLs2YfXE1p
— CFBBlueprint (@CFBBluePrint) October 24, 2020
By not kneeling or making sure Ford knew to go down and not score, Franklin committed a fatal error. He compounded that mistake by kicking the extra point to go up eight instead of going for two to try and go up by nine and make it a two-score game.
Indiana wound up getting the ball back and driving downfield and tying the game at 28. In overtime, IU surrendered a touchdown to the Nittany Lions, but scored on its possession and won the game on quarterback Michael Penix Jr.’s diving two-point conversion.
Not surprisingly, Franklin was getting skewered on Twitter after the game.
Regardless of whether this kick goes through or not, James Franklin is an excellent college football coach who absolutely sucks at game/clock/situation management. Has never been good at it and has never improved.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) October 24, 2020
Wow, did Tom Allen outsmart James Franklin
— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) October 24, 2020
I thought the Indiana dude was short
But Hoosiers deserved to win…..some egregiously bad coaching and time management by James Franklin at the end of the game
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) October 24, 2020
James Franklin … pic.twitter.com/o8lgjIU0ej
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) October 24, 2020
That was head coaching negligence. James Franklin is like the college version of Jim Caldwell. Monday-Friday they are excellent at leadership/management. But on game day they routinely cost their team with bad situational football. Can’t run the game properly. https://t.co/WB1Bj4zcvR
— James Light (@JamesALight) October 24, 2020
James Franklin has to own that loss for Penn St; let’s see how he handles the running back blunder in regulation in his post game comments
— Todd Fuhrman (@ToddFuhrman) October 24, 2020
James Franklin should be fired. I'm not joking. That was egregious coaching at the end of the game.
— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) October 24, 2020
If you excuse me I’m just going to watch folks slander James Franklin on this app pic.twitter.com/miMAtcsFJS
— Antwan V. Staley (@antwanstaley) October 24, 2020
If the Penn State runner falls at the one, none of this happens.
— Chris Andrews (@andrewssports) October 24, 2020
It is tough to say Franklin doesn’t deserve the bashing here. He mismanaged the end of regulation badly.
Now, not only did his team lose, but Penn State is 0-1 heading home to play Ohio State next weekend. An 0-2 start might very well be on the horizon.