With rumors swirling about his candidacy for the vacant USC job and his team coming off back-to-back losses, Penn State head coach James Franklin thrice referred to Ohio State as “Illinois” during his press conference on Tuesday.
“My focus is completely on Illinois and this team and this program,” Franklin said when asked if he’s committed to being the Nittany Lions’ coach next season. “I think I’ve shown over my eight years my commitment to this university and this community, and that’s kind of my statement.
“We’re trying to be focused on Illinois and talking about Illinois as much as we can.”
Penn State (5-2 overall, 2-2 in the Big Ten) is coming off a nine-overtime loss to the Illini on Saturday afternoon, but will travel to Ohio State this weekend (7:30 p.m. on ABC) for a game that will have a significant impact on the Big Ten East Division race.
“(It’s a) tremendous challenge going on the road to The Big House,” Franklin said, mistaking Michigan Stadium for Ohio Stadium. “We’ve got to get healthy, we’ve got to play smart and, obviously, we have to limit explosive plays. This team has the ability to put points on the board, so it’s a tremendous challenge.”
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