James Franklin intimated his decision to call a timeout right before Georgia State’s last-second field-goal attempt had nothing to do with “icing” the player.
“Really, that had nothing to do with it,” he said during his postgame press conference. “We don’t have a fourth-team field goal block, so we called timeout to get the second-team field goal block in there.”
With six seconds left in the game, and Georgia State 13 yards from the end zone, the Panthers opted to kick a field goal to prevent a 56-0 shutout. Fans booed since the shutout was on the line, but right before Brandon Wright booted the 31-yard attempt through the uprights, Franklin called a timeout.
That meant the kicker had to re-try the attempt — and, the second time, he missed wide right. Penn State preserved the shutout, but it also set off the Twitterverse who felt Franklin was icing the kicker despite having an eight-touchdown lead.
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He was asked to clarify that he was not icing the kicker. Franklin said, “I just answered your question. I’m being as clear as I possibly can.”
It’s not the first time Franklin’s been criticized from the outside this season, even if his words or actions may have been taken out of context. The Washington Post’s John Feinstein wrote a column Wednesday, taking Franklin to task for his comments after the 33-14 victory over Pitt. “For their win last year, it was like the Super Bowl,” Franklin said last week. “For us, it’s like beating Akron.”
Granted, Franklin tried to follow up by saying every week is Penn State’s Super Bowl. But Feinstein felt Franklin was acting “arrogant.” Chances are Saturday’s move did nothing to negate his opinion.
Regardless, Franklin said his team will enjoy the win for the next 32 minutes — and then it’s on to Iowa.