James Franklin Takes Blame for Penn State's 4th-Down Play Call vs. Ohio State

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2018

CHAMPAIGN, IL - SEPTEMBER 21: Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions is seen during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on September 21, 2018 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Penn State head coach James Franklin accepted the blame for running the ball on 4th-and-5 from the Ohio State 45-yard line with 1:16 remaining in Saturday night's 27-26 loss to the Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium.

"We obviously didn't make the right call in that situation," Franklin said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari. "That's on me."

The call followed consecutive timeouts by Ohio State and Penn State as the two sides tried to scope out each other's tactical preferences with the game on the line.

The Nittany Lions settled on a dive play to running back Miles Sanders, and the result was a two-yard loss that allowed the fourth-ranked Buckeyes to improve to 5-0.

Sanders found running room hard to come by all night and finished with 16 carries for 43 yards. Conversely, quarterback Trace McSorley diced up Ohio State's defense and finished with 286 passing yards and a career-high 175 rushing yards.

"I think we had the game won at home with a great crowd behind us, and we just didn't get it done," McSorley said after Penn State dropped to 4-1, per 247Sports' Tyler Donohue. "... In my eyes, I believe we should've won that game and we just didn't come through when we needed to."

The Nittany Lions will have two weeks to reflect on Saturday's shortcomings before they return to the field Oct. 13 for a Big Ten clash with Michigan State.

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