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Kirk Ferentz’s Defense Of Iowa’s Injury-Booing Doesn’t Add Up

Iowa’s 23-20 win over Penn State finished up days ago, but the Hawkeyes’ coaching staff is still discussing some of what went down at Kinnick Stadium.

At his weekly press conference on Tuesday, head coach Kirk Ferentz fielded questions about the booing of some of Penn State’s injured players Saturday night. Hawkeye fans were notably loud and angry whenever a Nittany Lion went down, possibly suggesting some defensive players were just making an effort to slow Iowa’s momentum.

Ferentz opened by noting that he knew a couple of Nittany Lions were “legitimately hurt.” He sent well wishes to Sean Clifford, who went down with an unspecified injury in the second quarter, and mentioned that he saw another player on the bench with an ice pack who never returned to the action.

However, the head coach also offered up his feelings on other Penn State injuries.

“Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt — nobody. But I think probably it’s a reaction to, you know…There were a couple of guys that were down for the count and then were back a play or two later,” Ferentz said. “Our fans aren’t stupid. They’re watching, and they know what’s going on. I’ve been here 23 years. I think it’s the only second time we’ve seen that kind of stuff going on.”

Ferentz added that faking injuries on defense is “a topic nationally.” He mentioned that two people in Iowa’s program have come from schools where either “scuba” or “turtle” were used as code words to take a fall on defense.

“Our fans thought they smelled a rat I guess — I don’t know. They responded the way they responded,” he said

Outside of the reactions of the 69,250 fans at Kinnick Stadium Saturday night, an Iowa coach was also visibly frustrated by Penn State’s injuries. When defensive end Arnold Ebiketie went down with an unspecified knock, special teams coordinator LeVar Woods could be seen mockingly falling over on the sideline.

While Iowa’s fans and coaching staff were frustrated with Penn State’s alleged effort to slow down momentum, it’s worth noting the Hawkeyes had a just 33% success rate on offensive plays Saturday. As noted by ESPN’s Bill Connelly, that was good for 11th-worst of any team in the nation on Saturday. Iowa also huddled on offense throughout the afternoon, which certainly isn’t indicative of a high-tempo attack.

Ebiketie did return to the game shortly after the injury shown in the above video, but the Nittany Lions finished with game-ending injuries for five total players. Clifford obviously left in the second quarter, while PJ Mustipher, Jonathan Sutherland, Devyn Ford, and John Lovett were all knocked out, too.

James Franklin hasn’t provided an update on any of those players’ statuses, but some news could come when he meets with the media after practice Wednesday night.

Ferentz’s full Tuesday afternoon presser is available here. His comments on Penn State’s injuries, and Iowa fans’ reactions to them, come in at approximately the 32-minute mark.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email

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