Lopsided loss won’t hurt recruiting, Durkin says
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.