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Penn State HC James Franklin, Iowa HC Kirk Ferentz not Thinking Much About Eventful 2021 Game

Penn State and Iowa’s last meeting was one to remember.

It was a great day for Iowa and a nightmare fuel for Penn State. 

No. 4 PSU fell to No. 3 Iowa, 23-20, in Iowa City, and the loss alone with disheartening.

Penn State led 17-3 in the first half and got outscored 20-3 the rest of the way. But the worst part was the injuries. QB Sean Clifford suffered a game-ending injury, and DT PJ Mustipher suffered a season-ender. 

Injuries are an unavoidable part of football, but fans and coaches mocking injured players aren’t. 

Iowa fans were heard booing Mustipher as he lay on the ground, and Iowa’s special teams coordinator, LeVar Woods, appeared to mock PSU defensive end Arnold Ebiketie.

Where things got interesting was a few days later, when Ferentz defended the Iowa faithful and insulted Penn State in the process. 

“I hope those guys are well, I don’t know what their status is,” Ferentz said. “Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. But I think probably [the booing] is a reaction to, there were a couple of guys that were down for the count and then were back a play or two later. Our fans aren’t stupid. They’re watching, they know what’s going on.

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

Penn State coach James Franklin defended his team later in the week.

“I would ask anybody that’s listening to take your Penn State hat off, or take your Iowa hat off,” Franklin said. “I’m just going to talk [about] what I believe and what I think from a strategy standpoint, from a common-sense perspective, from what’s good for college football. So how does this strategy make sense against a huddle team?”

Now, it’s 2023, and the two teams are set to meet for the first time since that 2021 game Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

If either head coach is still thinking about that Saturday two Octobers ago, they didn’t show it this week.

“No,” Franklin told reporters after practice Wednesday when asked about the 2021 game. “I’m worried about the things that we have to do to have our team prepared. I think we’ve done that. We’ll continue to do that all week long to give us the best chance to be successful, but no comments or points about that.”

Ferentz let off a similar vibe in his weekly presser Tuesday.

“I don’t know how many of their players were here in 2021,” Ferentz said, “and I don’t know how many of our guys were here, either. Probably, like me, not many of them remember much about it, other than it was a tough game. We had to make a big play to really get back into it, and I think once you play a game, it all pretty much goes to rest and you move on to the next season or whatever, next game. So, I don’t think it’s a big deal there.”

Penn State fans haven’t forgotten about two years ago, and they’ll have a lot to say about the matter if PSU wins Saturday night. 

 

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