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James Franklin shares strategy for fixing struggles vs Ohio State

James Franklin shared with Nittany Lion legend LaVar Arrington why he thinks Penn State has historically struggled with Ohio State, and his message to fix it.



Penn State football, James Franklin, LaVar Arrington, Ohio State
Oct 14, 2023; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin walks off the field following the game against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Massachusetts 63-0. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

We’re less than 24 hours away from kick off between No. 7 Penn State and No. 3 Ohio State. One of the most highly anticipated matchups of the entire college football season, Saturday’s showdown in Columbus will undoubtedly help to decide the Big Ten title race and College Football Playoff picture. Historically on the short end of many of these matchups, there’s a feeling around Happy Valley that this could be the season the Nittany Lions finally get a win over the Buckeyes. In this week’s episode of Quite Franklin with host and Nittany Lion legend LaVar Arrington, James Franklin explained what he feels has contributed to the Penn State football program’s struggles against Ohio State and his message to the team to correct course on Saturday.

James Franklin explains why Penn State has struggled against Ohio State

Penn State football fans know the recent history against Ohio State. The Nittany Lions have lost six games in a row to the Buckeyes after pulling the upset in 2016. No Penn State team has gone into Columbus and won since 2011. The Buckeyes have been favored in the last 13 seasons, as they are again for Saturday’s matchup.

But the first step in fixing a problem is understanding the issues at hand. On the brand-new episode of Quite Franklin, James Franklin explained to Penn State Letterman and College Football Hall of Famer LaVar Arrington why he thinks his Nittany Lions have recently struggled in these marquee games.

“Obviously, we’re going to the Horseshoe, playing the No. 3 ranked team in the country, so there’s a lot that comes with that,” Franklin said of Saturday’s matchup. “One of the things I think is really important is our team understanding, they don’t have to go down there and do anything more than what we’ve done all year long. I feel like that’s been a little bit of a problem in the past in these games. We’ve tried to do more. And that will come back to get you.”

Franklin shares message to his team with LaVar Arrington

While the expected outcome for the top-10 showdown between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes is essentially a “pick ’em,” one thing is clear: the stage hasn’t been any bigger for Penn State football than it will be on Saturday. The college football world is descending on Columbus for what is a de facto College Football Playoff game.

Faced with what could be the biggest game of the college football season to date, James Franklin explained to LaVar Arrington the message he’s instilled with his team during this week.

“[It’s about] making sure all our guys understand that we’re prepared for this moment,” Franklin said. “We’ve been preparing all year long. The reality is, they’ve been preparing all their lives for moments like this. So let’s just go and have some fun and play the way we’re capable of playing and making guys like yourself [Arrington] and Lettermen from the past feel really good about how we compete and how we finish.”

Kickoff between Penn State football and Ohio State is set for Saturday at noon on FOX.

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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