Penn State Football: Franklin Keeps Calm in Response to Whistle-Filled Evening
IOWA CITY, IOWA. — James Franklin opted to keep his thoughts to himself about a whistle-filled Saturday night win over Iowa that saw the Nittany Lions called for eight penalties for 80 yards while the Hawkeyes were called for just a single five-yard penalty.
"The thing that was really interesting is, we're one of the least penalized teams in the country and we come in here tonight and it didn't necessarily play out that way. I'll leave it at that." Franklin said.
Penn State is currently fifth in the nation with an average of just four penalties per game, the Nittany Lions were called for holding multiple times as well as at least one questionable pass interference penalty.
The infringements aside, Saturday's drama hit its peak as an apparent touchdown by Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth was reversed following a long review process. Freiermuth caught the pass and seemingly crossed the plane prior to his knee touching the ground. Available reviews in the stadium and the press box seemed inconclusive for an overturn if not evidence for upholding the touchdown call on the field.
Nevertheless, the call was reversed and two consecutive holding penalties pushed Penn State all the way to the Iowa 21, the Nittany Lions eventually settling for a field goal instead of a touchdown.
Asked about the review process, Franklin offered up no thoughts other than a not-so-hidden smile as he spoke.
"I'd love to do it, trust me," Franklin said. "I'd love to have a lengthy conversations about this. Our fans would love me to have a lengthy conversation about it. It's not going to do any good. I'm going to enjoy the win and focus on the things that we can control. I get it, but I'm in a no-win situation here."
For fans of the program Saturday's officiating drama was not lessened by the fact head official John O'Neill was at the center of the controversy. O'Neill was also at the heart of Penn State's 2014 loss to Ohio State in which one review and lack of clock awareness cost Penn State possession and ultimately granted Ohio State three points in the eventual double overtime loss. O'Neill was also present for Penn State's 2012 loss to Nebraska when a similar goal line call was ruled a fumble against the Nittany Lions.
As far as an explanation, the conference is not required to explain reviews that amount to judgment calls and therefore will not be offering any additional statement regarding the overturned touchdown.