Saquon Barkley will play Saturday, Franklin says

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Saquon Barkley, running in open space against Rutgers on Nov. 19, 2016 in Piscataway, N.J.

Penn State coach James Franklin said Tuesday that he thinks running back Saquon Barkley will be ready to go Saturday night in the Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin.

Barkley left Saturday's rout of Michigan State late in the third quarter with what appeared to be an injury to his leg or ankle. Franklin, as is his custom, would not talk about the injury.

"I think he's already told people he feels great," Franklin said. "He looked great on Sunday when I saw him. So we're anticipating him playing and playing well on Saturday."

In his only comment to reporters on Monday, Barkley said he was "feeling fine, totally good." He said he was undergoing treatment, "taking it day by day and trying to get ready for the game this weekend."

Barkley, who was held to a season-low 14 yards in 12 carries against Michigan State, ranks second in the Big Ten in rushing yards (1,219) and third in per-game average (101.6).

Coach of the year

Franklin was named Big Ten coach of the year in a vote of the media. It is the fifth time a Penn State coach has won the award, and the first since Bill O'Brien in 2012.

Redshirt junior kicker Tyler Davis, who has made 20 field goals in 22 attempts this season, was named all-Big Ten first team by the coaches and second team by the media.

Other Penn State players who were honored were defensive ends Garrett Sickels (second-team coaches, third-team media) and Evan Schwan (third-team coaches and media); linebacker Jason Cabinda (third-team coaches); and safety Marcus Allen (third-team coaches). Those named honorable mention were linebacker Brandon Bell, cornerback John Reid, defensive tackle Parker Cothren, and punter Blake Gillikin.

The all-Big Ten offensive team will be announced Wednesday.

Franklin's TV career

Franklin attended last year's Big Ten championship game as a commentator for Fox Sports and "took a bunch of notes" that he hoped would help him for situations just like this weekend, Penn State's first trip to the title contest.

"Just being in there, seeing what it was like, what the environment was like, how different teams approached it," he said. "You find out teams that have played in that game before, what they did, what their plan was.

"I want to hear what other people had done, what the hotels were like, all these types of things. Me actually being there on the sidelines helped me kind of understand what the environment was going to be like, what the venue was like, the atmosphere."

The Indy factor

Franklin declined to address a reporter's question about the "irony" of his team's being in Indianapolis, the location of NCAA headquarters, for a game in which the Nittany Lions were ineligible to participate in 2012 and 2013 because of sanctions handed down by the governing body of college sports.

"To be honest with you, I just want to talk about the game this week," he said. "I don't want to get into all those things."

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