James Franklin just clinched his third 11-win season in four years, with Penn State’s Cotton Bowl win this afternoon. The Nittany Lions won a shootout with Memphis, 53-39.
Penn State has established itself as a top program in recent years, and they certainly have aspirations beyond standard New Year’s Six bowls.
Given the shake ups on the roster in recent years, with the departures of stars like Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley to the NFL Draft and offensive mastermind Joe Moorhead to Mississippi State, this season is an accomplishment. Franklin certainly celebrated like it.
After he got the customary Gatorade bath, the former East Stroudsburg quarterback showed off his defensive skills, tackling one of the assailants on his team.
It’s definitely a new wrinkle on your standard post-game celebration.
James Franklin tackled his player for giving him a Gatorade bath hahahahaha pic.twitter.com/0N9mcN1df1
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) December 28, 2019
With the win, James Franklin is 80-38 as a head coach, with a 56-23 record at Penn State. He’s now 5-4 in bowls overall, evening his postseason record at PSU at 3-3. In 2016, the Nittany Lions lost the Rose Bowl to USC, but he won the Fiesta Bowl a year later, beating Washington. The Cotton Bowl win puts Franklin’s Nittany Lions at 2-1 in New Year’s Six games.
Franklin has already hired his new offensive coordinator for 2020, tabbing Minnesota’s Kirk Ciarrocca for the job. Some may consider that an upgrade over outgoing Ricky Rahne, who took the head coaching job at Old Dominion, after the work he did with the Golden Gophers offense this season.
With Sean Clifford and other stars set to return for 2020, the future remains bright in Happy Valley.