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Penn State responds after James Franklin issues challenge at halftime versus Delaware

James Franklin explained how his Penn State football team responded to a challenge he issued at halftime against Delaware.



Penn State football, James Franklin, Delaware
September 9, 2023. Penn State head football coach James Franklin leads his team on to the field ahead of a 63-7 win over Delaware. Credit: Grace Carella // Basic Blues Nation, 2023.

On Saturday afternoon, Penn State football cruised to an easy 63-7 win over FCS opponent Delaware. In a game that had many fans heading for the tailgate lots by the midway point of the third quarter, you may not think there was much pressure on the Nittany Lions in the second half. But that’s not necessarily the case. After Saturday’s win, James Franklin explained how his players responded to a challenge that he issued to the team during halftime of the Delaware game.

James Franklin challenges Penn State at halftime versus Delaware

By the time Penn State headed to the locker room for halftime Saturday, the win over Delaware was easily in hand. The Nittany Lions were up 35-7, and were stifling the Blue Hens all across the field.

But that doesn’t mean the Penn State players took the second half lightly. On the contrary, James Franklin said he challenged his team in the locker room to play even better in the third and fourth quarters.

“I challenged them at halftime and said, ‘Listen, we need to play better in the second half than we did the first half,'” Franklin said when asked if he felt the depth players who saw time Saturday lived up to the standard set by the Penn State starters. “You could make the argument that we gave up a touchdown in the first half and didn’t give up any points in the second half. So I think it’s a start, right? It’s a start.”

“I’ll have a better idea after we watch the film and really grade these guys. But it’s a start for the coaching staff to build off. But it’s also a pretty good example for young guys, and I’m going to talk to the coaches about making sure they’re grading, you know, the fourth quarter as hard as they graded the first quarter as well. This will be really good film for all those guys to watch on Sunday.”

Nittany Lions respond to challenge from Franklin

The Penn State football team responded to the challenge issued by its head coach on Saturday. Beyond outscoring Delaware 28-0 in the second half, the Nittany Lions contained the Blue Hens in almost every way.

The Penn State defense allowed 56 total yards in the second half, including just 17 on the ground. After giving up a 66-yard touchdown run in the first half, Penn State allowed just 82 rushing yards on the day. Through the air, the Blue Hens could not fly, only passing for 58 yards in total.

On offense, Penn State racked up 541 yards on the day, including 219 in the second half. The running game led the way for the Nittany Lions, with 315 yards on the day. Over half of those yards, 168, came in the second half from the likes of Kaytron AllenNick Singleton, and Trey Potts.

Even though it was an FCS opponent, Penn State football fans must feel satisfied after Saturday’s dominant win. The Nittany Lions travel to Illinois next week for their first Big Ten test of the season.

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A third-generation Penn Stater, Matt is Editor-in-Chief for Basic Blues Nation, co-host of the podcast PSU Tailgate Talk, and a credentialed member of the Penn State football media. Matt also works as a staffer in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Matt lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife and a small army of pets.