Penn State football: It might be time to move on from James Franklin

It’s time. After yet another disappointing loss to a top-10 opponent in a crucial game with Big Ten title implications, James Franklin and Penn State football came up short.

The Nittany Lions had a chance to beat No. 3 Michigan on Saturday afternoon in Happy Valley and their hopes were strengthened by the suspension of Jim Harbaugh, but Franklin just couldn’t get the job done — again.

This is the second disappointing loss of the season, following the defeat against Ohio State earlier in the year. That one was expected, but this one was much more disheartening.

This loss ended the Nittany Lions’ playoff hopes and the Big Ten title is now out of the question.

Once again, Franklin will be watching the Big Ten title game from home. And this was supposed to be the year in which he gave the Buckeyes and Wolverines a run for their money.

James Franklin is just unable to show up in big games

Losing to Michigan and Ohio State has become somewhat of an annual tradition for the Nittany Lions under James Franklin. That should never be the case.

And it’s not just the fact that Franklin lost to Michigan on Saturday, it’s the manner in which he lost. It was the constant coaching mishaps that led to the 24-15 home loss to Michigan.

Let’s just touch on a few:

  • Running the ball on most first and second downs to put Penn State in third-and-long situations regularly.
  • Going for it on fourth down with about five minutes left in their own territory only to have Blake Corum score a touchdown on that next drive with favorable field position.
  • Going for two early in the game to try and make it 14-11 instead of just kicking the extra point. Penn State would fail the 2-point conversion.
  • Going for two after scoring a touchdown to make it 24-15 instead of keeping it a one-possession game with an extra point. The play-call was horrid and the Nittany Lions did not convert. The game was essentially over with a two-possession game and under three minutes left.
  • Drawing up the same QB run on third down for a second straight time and Drew Allar ended up coughing up the ball in his own territory because Michigan knew it was coming.
  • Getting out-coached by an acting head coach.

These are all examples of how poorly this game was coached by Franklin. Again. In a big game.

It may be time for Penn State to find someone who can win these games and doesn’t hand the win to teams like Michigan. Saturday’s loss was unacceptably poorly coached.