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The Penn State football program will never be confused with the modern-day Run-N-Gun offenses featured so prominently elsewhere throughout the country. In fact, you’re more likely to find a pistol or a shotgun on the ticket scalpers outside Beaver Stadium than you are the Nittany Lions offense. And that’s just fine with PSU coach James Franklin, who’s been pleased with his team’s early-season toughness.
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On the heels of a marquee win over SEC power Auburn, Penn State moved up to 6th in the Associated Press Top 25. “I think we got a tough-minded football team,” said coach Franklin, whose Nittany Lions knocked off Ball State in between wins against nationally ranked Wisconsin and Auburn.
“Obviously being tested early in the season like this, I think is going to be good and helpful. And we’re just going to have to build on it from there,” added Franklin. “But I’m pleased with where our football team is right now.”
A big reason for Penn State’s early success is the defense, which has limited opponents to an Arrington-era-like 14 points per game. “I think we have a really good mentality on defense. I think our leadership is really good,” said Franklin. ‘I think we’re a mentally tough football team. I think we’re a physically tough football team. We give up some yards, but we make critical plays when it matters most. And we’re able to either get turnovers or hold people to field goals more times than not.”
Despite the quick start, Franklin knows his group still has work to do: “There’s a lot of things that we can get cleaned up and should get cleaned up, and good football teams do that while they’re winning.”
Penn State’s competition eases up this week with a visit from Villanova, before the competition level rises once again with back-to-back games versus Big Ten foes Indiana and Iowa.