James Franklin ‘Hopeful’ That KJ Hamler Will Play Against Ohio State After Indiana Injury
Penn State football head coach James Franklin said he and his coaching staff are “hopeful” that wide receiver KJ Hamler will be available for next weekend’s clash with No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus.
Hamler took an awkward fall after a kickoff return in the first quarter, and he didn’t play after that. The speedy wideout went to Penn State’s locker room during the second quarter, and he greeted his teammates in the tunnel outside the locker room after they capped off a 34-27 victory at Beaver Stadium.
“The feedback we’re getting is we’re pretty hopeful to have him next week,” Franklin said.
Hamler finished the game with two receptions for a team-leading 52 yards — including a 41-yarder during the first quarter. Penn State’s offense was understandably not as dynamic without Hamler, but it also didn’t seem to miss a beat with him on the sidelines.
The Nittany Lions put together a pair of touchdown drives in the second half in two completely different ways. Journey Brown scored from 35 yards out two plays after a horrible fake punt attempt by the Hoosiers before the team traveled 75 yards in 18 plays on a game-sealing drive that took nine minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter.
“I’m really proud of our guys. You lose a guy like KJ, and I didn’t see any issues or concerns — obviously, concern for KJ because that’s our brother — but other guys stepped up,” Franklin said. “Did [Hamler’s injury] morph us a little bit? Yeah, probably, but I don’t know if it was necessarily because KJ wasn’t there or that we could run the ball. The depth we have at the running back and wide receiver positions has been helpful.”
No. 9 Penn State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) will take on No. 2 Ohio State, which is currently leading Rutgers 35-7 at halftime of its game in Piscataway, New Jersey. Kickoff is slated for noon on Saturday, November 23 in Columbus, and it’ll be broadcast nationally on FOX.
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