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‘They Should Have a Chance to Compete’: Penn State HC James Franklin Defends Last-Second TD in Win Over WVU

Penn State ranking James Franklin Franco Harris
Penn State Athletics

A lot of people have opinions on coach James Franklin and Penn State scoring a touchdown on the game’s last play despite being up by two scores on West Virginia. 

If you’re a Penn State fan, you probably defended Franklin and the team.

If you’re a West Virginia fan, you probably didn’t.

West Virginia coach Neal Brown gave his immediate thoughts in his postgame press conference. 

“I wouldn’t have done it,” Brown said, “but it doesn’t bother me.”

What Brown said next is perhaps most intriguing.

“Stuff like that comes back around.”

Franklin wasn’t asked about the decision in his postgame presser, but Cory Giger of DKPittsburghSports took the chance to ask him Tuesday.

Franklin defended the call. 

“I believe that my responsibility in those types of situations is to get my 2s in the game,” Franklin said. “And I think once those 2s get in the game, then they deserve the right and the chance to play and compete. That’s what I believe. I believe that from the (opening) kick to the last whistle, you compete and you play. 

“Now, if you leave your 1s in, that’s a different story. Then you should change how you plan. And you take knees and you run in situations that normally would run in, that’s different.”

Franklin then pointed out that Penn State’s backups, including QB Beau Pribula, who ran in for his first college touchdown with six seconds left, “get a limited amount of reps

“They should have a chance to compete,” Franklin said. “And I believe that not just from a Penn State perspective if we’re ever in (West Virginia’s) situation, I see it the same way. This isn’t me looking at it just from our view. I have a bunch of other things I could say, but I’m just going to leave it at that.”

Franklin then pointed out that getting Pribula in there against a majority of West Virginia’s starters was beneficial for the second-year player’s development.

“I think Beau being in there and being able to run the offense, they went to Cover 0, which is hard to run when you go cover 0, they should have the ability to check, draw a Cover 0 plan and have a chance to execute a play that has a chance to be successful against Cover 0 and then should have a chance to score. So I’m comfortable with that.”

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