A major storyline following Saturday’s loss to Iowa was the number of injuries suffered during the game by Penn State players.
Sean Clifford’s second quarter injury altered the game for Penn State’s offense and quite possibly the outcome of the game but he wasn’t the only Nittany Lion to leave the game. Five players including two starters were forced to leave the game at some point, including defensive tackle PJ Mustipher, running back John Lovett, running back Devyn Ford, safety Jonathan Sutherland, safety Juquan Brisker and end Arnold Ebiketie.
This became a in-game story because of the fans at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium booing the injuries, along with some members of Iowa’s seeming to question the legitimacy of the injuries. At one point, even the commentators on Fox seemed to wonder about the amount of injuries that were piling up for the Nittany Lions.
Faking injuries is something that Penn State hasn’t ever been accused of and in his postgame press conference, James Franklin didn’t appreciate what he was hearing from the Iowa fans and members of the Hawkeye team during the game.
“I do have a little bit of a hard time with our players getting hurt, and the fans and the coaches and the staff booing our players. They don’t run a tempo offense. It was not part of our plan. Obviously, we didn’t want Cliff, PJ, Lovett, Ford and Sutherland – guys that play significant football for us – to get injured. But to all the Iowa people out there, what was not part of our plan. It would not be. You don’t run a tempo offense. I don’t think that’s the right thing for college football, booing guys when they get hurt, however it looks. If one of those kids would have been significantly hurt, and you’re booing them…I’ve got a hard time with that, but I’ve got my own issues to deal with.”
Penn State will have a bye week to try and get some of these injured players back before returning to the field on October 23, when they host Illinois.