PSU banged up heading into Saturday

(Allentown) Morning Call (TNS)

Penn State has emerged from its loss to Michigan disappointed and sore, with coach James Franklin calling his team's health an issue prior to the regular-season finale at Michigan State.

"We're banged up this week, more so than we have been in a long time," Franklin said at his weekly press conference Tuesday. "More so this week than in the year-and-a-half that we've been here."

Franklin does not discuss injuries, so he did not mention specific players. However, defensive end Carl Nassib and tight end Mike Gesicki left the Michigan game with undisclosed injuries.

Nassib played just two snaps against Michigan, and Gesicki appeared to hurt himself on a first-half catch. He wore a shoulder wrap on the sideline for the second half. In addition, kicker Joey Julius went to the locker room in the fourth quarter.

In all, 20 players have missed at least one game this season, according to Penn State's official report. Among them is offensive lineman Andrew Nelson, who returned against Michigan after missing 51/2 games due to injuries.

"It didn't go exactly how I planned it," Nelson said of his season. "Obviously in my mind, prior to the season, you have a way you think things are going to go. And, unfortunately for me, that's just not the way it went this year.

"However, I think I've learned a lot from this year. At this point, I'm thankful for being out there each game now. I'm thankful for all the blessings God has given me this year."

Nassib a Burlsworth finalist: Nassib added another finalist honor to his resume.

He is one of three finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy given to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on. Nassib and the other finalists will be honored at an awards banquet in Springdale, Arkansas on Monday, Dec. 7.

Previously, Nassib was named a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy for the Nation’s Top Defensive Player and the Rotary Lombardi Award for the Nation’s Top Lineman (offensive or defensive).

Nassib is the second Nittany Lion to be a finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy. Quarterback Matt McGloin won the award in 2012.

In addition to Nassib, Oklahoma Quarterback Baker Mayfield and Washington State Quarterback Luke Falk are also finalists.

The Burlsworth Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth. Without one D1 scholarship offer, Brandon walked on to the Razorback team in 1994, worked his way to being a three-year starter and was eventually named an All-American in 1998. Burlsworth was selected as the 63rd overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL draft, but was tragically killed in a car accident 11 days later. The Burlsworth Foundation was created in his memory.

Fans are allowed to vote for their favorite player at  Fans are limited to one vote per day, and the voting will conclude on Dec. 6 at midnight.

Nassib sprung onto the national scene this year and leads FBS in sacks (15.5), tackles for loss (19.5) and forced fumbles (6).