Kirk Ferentz didn't outright accuse Penn State of faking injuries in Saturday's 23-20 Hawkeye win over the Nittany Lions... but he wasn't mad that his fans did.
“Our fans aren't stupid. They're watching. They know what's going on," he said Tuesday.
"(O)ur fans thought they smelled a rat, I guess. I don't know. So they responded the way they responded."
Franklin had the opportunity to respond on Wednesday, and respond he did.
Speaking for five minutes on the topic, Franklin noted that the players going down were Penn State's best players -- starters at critical positions, and then backups to those critical starters. Team captains. Quarterback Sean Clifford's injury turned the game, from a 17-3 Nittany Lions lead to a 23-20 Hawkeyes win.
Plus, Franklin noted, 70 percent of the players who were hurt -- many who were booed -- did not return to action. "We had a number of guys go out of the game who never came back," Franklin said.
The idea that Penn State's defenders would need to fake injuries to slow down Iowa's lightning fast offense also strains credulity. Iowa ran the ball 45 times for 110 yards. It gained 195 yards on 31 passes; 44 on a 1-play touchdown drive, 151 on the remaining 30. The Nittany Lions did not need to slow things down to get a handle on a fearsome Hawkeye attack. The Baker Mayfield Oklahoma Sooners, these were not. "How does this strategy make sense against a huddle team?" Franklin asked. "People use this strategy to slow down spread offenses." Franklin also noted Penn State did not fake injuries in five previous games against Iowa, nor other 132 he's coached across a 12-year career.
Penn State's defense largely dominated Iowa's offense, and the Nittany Lions were dominating the game until Clifford got hurt and did not return.
Franklin and Ferentz both said they had the utmost respect for the other's program and did not directly the accuse the other of doing something untoward, but I have to say it looks like Franklin wins this exchange.