Penn State's James Franklin responds to critics over 'Field-goal Gate' timeout

(Allentown) Morning Call (TNS)
  • James Franklin called a timeout just before Georgia State attempted a late field on Saturday.
  • The Nittany Lions were leading the game at the time, 56-0.
  • Franklin came under criticism for his decision, most notably by Mike Francesa.

Penn State coach James Franklin responded Tuesday, Sept. 19, to what he called “Field-goal Gate,” saying those who questioned his decision didn’t understand it.

Some voices in the national media, notably WFAN host Mike Francesa, ripped Franklin for “icing” Georgia State’s kicker late in Saturday’s game. With 11 seconds left and his team trailing 56-0, Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott sent his kicker onto the field to attempt a 31-yard field goal. Franklin called timeout, which he later explained was to get his field-goal block unit on the field.

Penn State head football coach James Franklin.

Georgia State kicker Brandon Wright, who made his first attempt before the timeout, missed his second attempt wide right. And Penn State secured its second shutout in three games.

“To be very clear, I was not icing anyone. I want to be as clear as I possibly can be,” Franklin said at the beginning of his weekly news conference, noting that a team spokesperson had told him of the criticism.

Franklin repeated his point about calling the timeout to get his field-goal block unit on the field. He said staff assistants in the coaches’ booth told him that the fourth-team defense, which was on the field, looked out of place.

Further, Franklin referred to one of his four core values (“Compete in everything you do”) as a response to his critics, particularly those who thought he should have allowed Georgia State to attempt the field goal freely.

“If that's how you feel,” Franklin said, “you won't ever understand me and you won't ever understand us.”

Among those in that camp is Francesa, the New York radio host. Francesa called Franklin a “stooge” and a “horse’s a—“ for what he considered “icing” the kicker with a 56-0 lead.

“Get lost; let them kick the field goal,” Francesa said, later adding, “He’s gotta try and block a kick at 56 nothing? He’s a horse’s a— for doing that. That’s a quote.”

Nittany notes: Franklin had no update on the condition of defensive end Torrence Brown, who sustained a leg injury against Georgia State.

Franklin said he expected offensive guard Brendan Mahon and linebacker Cam Brown to return to the lineup against Iowa. Neither played against Georgia State.

Franklin called Iowa’s visitor’s locker room, which is painted pink at Kinnick Stadium, one of the “cooler” traditions of college football. He also called it a “nice gesture” on Iowa’s behalf, since Penn State’s original school colors are pink and black.