Lop­sided loss won’t hurt re­cruit­ing, Durkin says

Baltimore Sun - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - By Don Markus don.markus@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/sport­sprof56 Bal­ti­more Sun re­porter Jonas Shaf­fer con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

STATE COL­LEGE, PA. — Go­ing into Sat­ur­day’s game at Beaver Sta­dium, Mary­land and Penn State seemed to present con­trast­ing sto­ry­lines re­gard­ing the way re­cruit­ing plays into the re­newal of this long-stand­ing, pre­vi­ously one-sided ri­valry.

With a 4-0 record and ranked ahead of the Nit­tany Lions in terms of the 2017 re­cruit­ing class, Mary­land ap­peared to be gain­ing ground on, if not sur­pass­ing, Penn State in both the Big Ten’s East Di­vi­sion peck­ing order and in the eyes of four- and five-star prospects.

While Mary­land’s DJ Durkin was start­ing to re­ceive na­tional at­ten­tion, Penn State’s James Franklin was start­ing to take heat from fans and me­dia about his team’s rel­a­tively slow start.

Did Sat­ur­day’s dom­i­nant 38-14 vic­tory by the Nit­tany Lions do any­thing to change the per­cep­tion of the two pro­grams, es­pe­cially in the minds of high school play­ers con­sid­er­ing both schools?

“Those things are so in­di­vid­u­ally based,” Durkin said af­ter the game. “Re­cruit­ing’s a marathon, not a sprint. You come off a big win and then you got mo­men­tum. Ev­ery­one’s ex­cited. You lose a game, then what does ev­ery­body [say], ‘I’m go­ing to go some­where else?’

“I don’t be­lieve that. It’s about re­la­tion­ships. It’s about con­sis­tent, stay­ing with peo­ple. I don’t know. Re­cruit­ing is some­thing that’s go­ing very well for us. There’s a lot of things go­ing in the right di­rec­tion for our pro­gram. And one of them is go­ing to see how we bounce back from a loss.”

In the home team’s me­dia room, Franklin seemed to be feed­ing off the mo­men­tum of one of the more im­pres­sive per­for­mances the Nit­tany Lions had given dur­ing his first three sea­sons at Penn State. Not known to shy away from the spot­light, Franklin em­braced it.

“I think win­ning helps every­thing,” he said. “The guys that we have from Mary­land, D.C. and North­ern Vir­ginia, the DMVas it’s called, it’s im­por­tant and it helps us. At the end of the day, it’s about get­ting a great ed­u­ca­tion, which we pro­vide here at Penn State.

“It’s about play­ing big-time foot­ball, and we’re head­ing in that di­rec­tion. It’s also about hav­ing a great col­lege ex­pe­ri­ence. We feel like we can of­fer that as good as any­where in the coun­try, but the win­sare apart of that as well.”

Hav­ing more than 100,000 fans for home­com­ing — more than twice what Mary­land had for its own home­com­ing de­mo­li­tion of Pur­due the pre­vi­ous week — cer­tainly doesn’t hurt Penn State’s cause in main­tain­ing, or even re­claim­ing, its po­si­tion of dom­i­nance over the Terps. The Nit­tany Lions lead the Sat­ur­day, noon TV: ESPNU Ra­dio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM Line: TBA Penn State’s Trace McSor­ley evades Mary­land tack­lers in the sec­ond quar­ter of Sat­ur­day’s game. Penn State won, 38-14, hand­ing the Terps their first de­feat of the sea­son. all-time se­ries 37-2-1.

Still, Franklin ac­knowl­edges the ad­di­tion of Mary­land in the equa­tion, though he is not quite ready to clas­sify the Terps as Penn State’s main ri­val.

“The Big Ten that Penn State was in for so long, one of the things that dif­fer­en­ti­ated us was not only the 107,000-seat sta­dium or the his­tory and tra­di­tion or the aca­demics — it was that we were the only team in the re­gion in the Big Ten,” Franklin said. “That gave us a real ad­van­tage.

“Now we have other teams, Rut­gers and Mary­land, in this re­gion that are play­ing Big Ten foot­ball, so we don’t have that to dif­fer­en­ti­ate us any­more. Does the win help us? Yes it does. Peo­ple think I am anti-ri­valry. Here’s the is­sue: if it’s a ri­valry, you don’t have to con­vince peo­ple. Ev­ery­one knows it’s a ri­valry.”

Franklin said there was sim­i­lar dis­cus­sion ear­lier this sea­son when Penn State played — and lost to — Pitts­burgh.

“Our play­ers had never seen a gamea­gainst Pitt,” Franklin said. “Maybe 20 years from now, it won’t beadis­cus­sion — it will bea­clear ri­valry with cer­tain teams. Is there a ge­o­graphic sig­nif­i­cance to it? No doubt. I’m not anti-ri­valry, but to me, it shouldn’t be some­thing wearetry­ing to con­vince or cre­ate. It’s there or not.”

NOTE: Three-star Hamp­ton (Va.) ath­lete Dazz New­some an­nounced his oral com­mit­ment Sun­day to Mary­land on Twit­ter, be­com­ing the 18th mem­ber of the Class of 2017. He’s rated the No. 35 prospect in Vir­ginia and the No. 83 ath­lete na­tion­ally by 247Sports.com. In ad­di­tion to play­ing de­fen­sive back, New­some was­namedafirst-tea­mall-state punt re­turner and sec­ond-team all-state wide re­ceiver. ty­ing point.

Luke Falk threw for 357 yards and four touch­downs to lead vis­it­ing Washington State to a 42-16 vic­tory over No. 15 Stan­ford.

Falk con­nected with Tavares Martin Jr. twice in the first half and added sec­ond-half touch­down passes to Gabe Marks and River Cracraft to help the Cougars (3-2, 1-1) end an eight-game los­ing streak to the Car­di­nal (3-2, 2-2).

Jake Brown­ing threw for 304 yards and a school-record six touch­downs and ran for an ad­di­tional two scores as No. 5 Washington (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) ended a 12-game los­ing streak against host Ore­gon (2-4, 0-3 Pac-12) with a 70-21 vic­tory.

Quar­ter­back Troy Wil­liams ran for two touch­downs and threw for a score, help­ing host No. 24 Utah rally for a 36-23 win over Ari­zona (2-4, 0-3 Pac-12).

Utah (5-1, 2-1) scored 26 straight points af­ter fall­ing be­hind 14-3 and moved into a tie atop the Pac-12 South with Colorado.

JOE ROB­BINS/GETTY IM­AGES

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