Kirk Ferentz says Iowa fans booed some Penn State injuries because they ‘smelled a rat’

JOE JULIANO
The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz directs his players during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Penn State, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday that he believed fans of the Hawkeyes booed some Penn State players when they stayed down after a play in Saturday’s game because “they smelled a rat, I guess.”

Four defensive players for the Nittany Lions — safety Jaquan Brisker, tackle D’Von Ellies, safety Jonathan Sutherland and end Arnold Ebiketie — were booed when they remained down following a play. Of the four, only Sutherland did not return to the game.

Quarterback Sean Clifford, defensive tackle PJ Mustipher and running backs Devyn Ford and John Lovett also had to leave the game with injuries and did not return.

“Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. Nobody,” Ferentz said at his weekly news conference. “But I think (the booing) is probably a reaction to, there were a couple guys that were down for the count and then were back a play or two later. Our fans aren’t stupid; they’re watching; they know what’s going on.”

Penn State coach James Franklin did not appreciate the booing.

“I do have a little bit of a hard time with our players getting hurt and the fans and the coaches and the staff booing our players,” he said Saturday after his team’s 23-20 loss.

“To all the Iowa people out there, it was not part of our plan. It would not be. We had some guys get injured and I don’t know if I necessarily agree. I don’t think that’s the right thing for college football booing guys when they get hurt, however it looks.”

The American Football Coaches Association has asked the NCAA football rules committee to address the question of the legitimacy of injuries. Ferentz said two of his staff members used to work at programs that would use terms like “scuba” and “turtle” when they wanted players to fake an injury.

“So it goes on,” Ferentz said. “We don’t coach it, haven’t really been exposed to it. Our fans, I thought they smelled a rat, I guess, I don’t know. So they responded the way they responded.”