Penn State coach James Franklin had a testy exchange with a reporter in the press conference after Saturday's loss to Michigan. Photo Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2023; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin walks on the sideline during the second quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State football coach James Franklin had a testy exchange with a reporter in the press conference after the Nittany Lions lost 24-15 to Michigan on Saturday.

If 15 seems like kind of an odd number for a football team, there was a reason for it. Penn State scored two touchdowns in the game. The first came late in the first half to cut the deficit to 24-9. The second came with 1:59 remaining in the game to make the score 24-15. Both times, Franklin elected to have the Nittany Lions try a two-point conversion and both times, the conversion was stopped.

David Jones of Jones asked Franklin about the two-point tries.

“We felt like points were going to be hard to come by,” Franklin said, per Jones. “We’re down by 4 [with only an extra point]. We wanted to put ourselves in a position to make it a field-goal game.”

That explained the first attempt. And while the general rule of thumb is to not chase points in the first half, there’s some logic to trying to trim the deficit to three points, especially in a low-scoring game.

The second conversion attempt, though, was more controversial. Trailing 24-9, Penn State needed two touchdowns and needed a two-point conversion with one of them. But kicking the PAT would cut the deficit to eight, extending the game. Going for two and missing it effectively ended the game.

Jones pressed Franklin on the matter, prompting an awkward back-and-forth.

“I don’t understand the logic there. You make it an eight-point game to keep your team alive,” Jones said.

“You don’t agree with it. I’m just telling you, that’s the decision,” Franklin replied.

“I didn’t think the answer had anything to do with the second one. The first one I understand,” Jones said, drawing a difference between the two decisions.

“We’re trying to get back. We’re trying to get points. We felt like points were gonna be hard to come by. We wanted to get it back,” responded Franklin.

“There’s two-and-a-half minutes left in the game at that point,” Jones said.

“Davy, I answered your question,” replied a frustrated Franklin.

“I don’t think you did,” Jones said, ending the exchange.

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