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An Unlikely Pairing: Pitt HC Pat Narduzzi Backs Penn State’s James Franklin

Photo by Penn State Athletics: James Franklin

The Penn State-Iowa (fake) injury beef is very well-publicized news at this point, with Iowa fans booing a perceived stretch of fake injuries from the Nittany Lions’ players during Saturday’s 23-20 Iowa win, Lions head coach James Franklin denouncing the boos and Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz saying the Iowa fans smelled a rat.

Of course, Lions quarterback Sean Clifford was knocked out of the game, and it was announced Wednesday that Lions defensive tackle PJ Mustipher is out for the season, so the injuries are a legitimate gripe from the Lions’ side.

So things are a bit contentious around the two fan bases right now, and surprisingly, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi backed Franklin and Penn State in the war of words, in a video shared on Twitter by Pitt Rivals Panthers-Lair’s Jim Hammett.

“A lot of talk about cramps and tempo and injuries, you know, and I don’t agree with James Franklin on a whole bunch, but James, I’ve got your back on — you know, when you’re not playing a high, fast-tempo offense, a team that huddles, nobody goes down with a cramp. So… that’s a bunch of bologna,” Narduzzi said in an interview.

The PSU loss, without Clifford and Mustipher — two of the Lions’ top players on offense and defense — and a handful of other Lions’ players exiting with injuries at points during the game, was particularly crushing for the Lions. A 17-3 lead at the time of Clifford’s exit, Iowa stormed back to a 23-20 win with 10 unanswered fourth quarter points.

Iowa jumped to No. 2 in the AP Poll, currently in the driver’s seat in the Big 10, while Penn State fell to No. 7 in the latest poll, likely needing wins over Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State over the next few weeks to trigger a rematch against the Hawkeyes in the Big 10 title game.

Regardless of the Penn State-Iowa contention, the Lions have the support of the Panthers — a sentence many thought may never have been typed.

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