Penn State’s Franklin Named Sporting News Coach of the Year

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State head coach James Franklin has been named the Sporting News National Coach of the Year. He is the second Penn State head coach to win the honor, joining Joe Paterno, who claimed the award in 2005.

(Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

Franklin is also a finalist for the 2016 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award as presented by the Football Writers Association of America.

Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to their first Big Ten Championship since 2008 and fourth overall (1994, 2005, 2008). He led the Nittany Lions to the Big Ten East title, its second divisional title (2011). Franklin guided the Lions to a No. 5 ranking in the CFP, Associated Press and Amway Coaches polls, the highest ranking for the Nittany Lions since 2009.

At 11-2, Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to their sixth 11-win season since Penn State joined the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are riding a nine-game winning streak, which is the program’s longest since 2009. Penn State finished 8-1 in Big Ten play, marking the second eight-win conference season in program history to join the 1994 team that went 8-0.

The third-year head coach has earned Big Ten Coach of the Year from the Associated Press and the conference’s media. Franklin’s Dave McLain Big Ten Coach of the Year marks the fifth time a Penn State head coach has won the honor, joining Paterno (1994, 2005, 2008) and Bill O’Brien (2012).

Franklin and the Nittany Lions are heading to the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual on Monday, January 2 at 5 p.m. (ET). This mark’s Penn State’s first appearance in the “Granddaddy of Them All” for the first time since the 2009 game. Franklin has guided his team to a bowl berth in each of his six seasons as a head coach, making him one of 12 active FBS coaches to do so.

BARKLEY NAMED TO SPORTING NEWS ALL-AMERICAN TEAM

Sophomore running back Saquon Barkley has been named to the Sporting News All-America second team. He is the first Penn State running back to garner All-America accolades since Larry Johnson captured first team laurels in 2002. He is also the first offensive player to take home All-America honors since Allen Robinson (first team) and John Urschel (third team) in 2013.

Barkley is the 2016 Graham-George Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and the 2016 Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year. Barkley was named to the All-Big Ten first team by the coaches and media, which made him a unanimous first team choice. The sophomore was selected as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press and was a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection. Additionally, Barkley is a finalist for the Chicago Tribune Silver Football, which is given annually to the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player. The winner will be announced this week.

Barkley ranks second in the Big Ten and ranks 32nd in FBS in all-purpose yards (128.15) and paces the Big Ten and ranks ninth in FBS in total touchdowns with 19. The sophomore back is third in the conference and 33rd nationally with 100.2 rushing yards per game. In the Big Ten Championship game, Barkley broke the Penn State sophomore rushing yards record and is 10th on the single-season chart with 1,302 markers and ranks No. 6 on Penn State’s single season all-purpose yards list with 1,666. He owns the sophomore scoring record with 114 points, passing Kevin Kelly’s previous mark of 96 points (2006).

Just the eighth player in program history to have multiple 1,000-yard seasons, Barkley had a streak of 14 consecutive games with at least one rush of 20 yards snapped at Rutgers (11/19), a streak that was the second-longest in college football in the last 20 years (19 – LaMichael James, Oregon (2008-10). He has 39 rushes of 10 or more yards in 2016 and 73 in his career.

Barkley sits 14th on Penn State’s career rushing yards list (2,378) and 14th in career rushing scores (23). Earlier this season, he became the first Penn State player since Larry Johnson in 2002 (289 yards vs. Michigan State and 327 yards at Indiana) to post back-to-back game with 200-plus all-purpose yards, gaining 211 vs. Iowa (11/5) and 277 at Purdue (10/29).


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