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Prugar: James Franklin, Penn State Trolled by Ole Miss

Photo by Jordan Leneberg, Nittany Sports Now: James Franklin

ATLANTA — Ole Miss HC Lane Kiffin is no stranger to laughable moments whether it be on a tarmac or an assistant coach creating a burner X account to create bulletin board material for his team coming into Saturday’s game against Penn State.

It was Kiffin and his Ole Miss team who got the final laugh and were far from needing the bulletin board material created by one of Kiffin’s assistant coaches Fisher Ray as they beat Penn State 38-23 in the 2023 Peach Bowl.

“I thought it was pretty funny actually because they discovered it was Fisher Ray, one of our assistants, one of our student assistants,” Kiffin said in his postgame presser. “I thought it was really cool last night when he (Ray) showed it to me, he’s like, these Penn State fans now, they’re into this … I hope the fans had fun with it.”

The bulletin board material the Ole Miss needed wasn’t on a bulletin board at all, in fact, it rested solely in the tape in preparing for Penn State.

“In studying and game planning, didn’t really feel in that conference they had played much tempo,” Kiffin said. “That’s part of what we do, and we were able to — that only works when you make first downs.”

Ole Miss did just that despite struggling early to do so and it paid dividends.

“We made some plays, and we were able to get into some tempo situations where they weren’t aligned and took advantage of that,” Kiffin said. “Early on there was a little struggle there. Those guys have really good players. That No. 11 (Penn State LB Abdul Carter) is an elite player.”

The in-game adjustments made by Kiffin and company exploited the youth and inexperience at cornerback for Penn State who were down their starting cornerbacks in Johnny Dixon and Kalen King.

“They gave us some problems there early, and really — I mean, really made it kind of basic and said, okay, we’re going to throw the ball quick because they’ve got really good rush, especially when they’re blitzing him (Carter),” Kiffen said.

Those quick routes quickly added up and that was part of the gameplan for the Rebels. They knew they had the upper hand in some offensive matchups and it showed.

“We told them before the game last night, this game will be won on offense in the one-on-one matchups at wide receiver and tight end,” Kiffin said.

And they did. The offensive MVP was tight end Caden Prieskorn who hauled in 10 receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns while wide receiver Tre Harris caught seven passes for 134 yards.

Penn State couldn’t figure out a way to stop the Rebels, but it was another big game where quarterback Drew Allar and the offense didn’t hold up much of the bargain on their end.

Allar finished 19-for-39 with an interception, two touchdowns and 295 yards through the air. His interception was an ugly affair that was nowhere near his intended target but found the hands of Ole Miss’ Daijahn Anthony.

“We’ve got to make some plays for him, and he’s got to make some plays as well,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said.

As the starting quarterback, Allar will shoulder much of the blame for the offense and deservedly so. He does have to play better that much is certain, but so does the supporting cast.

“We’ve got to be able to scare people and be a threat consistently on the perimeter. That’s something I think we’ve shown flashes of at times, but we need to be able to do that on a consistent basis,” Franklin said.

Penn State receivers were targeted once in the first half. It took until the fourth quarter for a receiver to record a reception.

Penn State was without Dante Cephus for this game which isn’t to say he would’ve had an impact against Ole Miss. But it’s telling in the following words Franklin spoke after the game about Cephus.

“Everything’s an open competition every week, and the depth chart reflects that,” Franklin said. “Then obviously when you’re in a bowl situation and you’ve got three weeks, there’s a lot of movement that can occur in three weeks. Part of that is having Trey Wallace back that we had not had for about five weeks this year.”


This is a receiver group that is subpar at best which Penn State knew coming into the season, but miraculously somehow got worse as the season went on.

Wallace being injured was a black cloud for a group that struggled mightily, though, he had the best performance of any Penn State receiver with four receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown before reinjuring the same shoulder he hurt early this season.

There are a lot more questions to answer now for the Nittany Lions with the offseason officially beginning. How Franklin and company respond to those questions remains to be seen. For now, a long look in the mirror is in store for Penn State as they look to bounce back from this loss.

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