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James Franklin on loss to Michigan: ‘They outplayed us on both fronts, no doubt about it’

The Nittany Lions’ head coach didn’t hold back in assessing his team’s performance

Penn State v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Following a blowout 41-17 loss to the Michigan Wolverines Saturday, Penn State head coach James Franklin addressed the media. During that time, Franklin didn’t mince words about his team’s performance.

“We did not control the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball,” Franklin said. “Although the score at the end of the first half, we were in the thing, we did not control the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball. They controlled the line of scrimmage and they controlled the game.

“They’re a good team, give them credit, but we didn’t play well.”

When asked to elaborate on what position group struggled, Franklin didn’t back down on calling it a team-wide failure.

“We did not do well on either front,” Franklin said. “That’s tight ends, that’s o-line, that’s d-line, that’s linebackers. They outplayed us on both fronts, no doubt about it. When I say that’s coaching, that’s playing, that’s all of it.”

While the Nittany Lions edged out Michigan in passing yards by a total 157 to 145, that was nearly their only win on the statline. The Wolverines eclipsed their opponents by a staggering margin in first downs (28 to 10), yards per play (7.1 to 5.3) and time of possession (41:56 to 18:04).

When asked why the trenches have been a problem area this season, Franklin was surprisingly blunt about his roster.

“We’ve gotta recruit, we’ve gotta get bigger. Everybody thinks they’re Aaron Donald now, and they’re not,” Franklin said. “Everybody sees Aaron Donald playing undersized and everybody thinks they’re that guy, and there’s been one of those guys in the last 100 years of football. So we need to be bigger, we need to be more physical.”

With the loss, Penn State no longer controls its own destiny in the Big Ten East, dwindling the contenders to two — Michigan and Ohio State.