Franklin loves the 'White Out,' looks to expand it

Penn State fans during a White Out game against Michigan on Saturday.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – James Franklin participated Saturday night in his fourth “White Out” since becoming the head coach at Penn State and said during the week that “the only thing I like more than Christmas is a White Out football game.”

But he’s ready to extend the White Out beyond the gates of Beaver Stadium to downtown State College and throughout the nation.

Franklin floated that idea during his post-practice availability on Wednesday when asked about his approach to social media. He said he handles Twitter differently for home games, “trying to create the best atmosphere in college football because I know that’s going to equate to winning.”

He added he also thinks he has a responsibility to promote Penn State football, and that’s where the White Out ideas flowed.

“I think we can expand the White Out [to] more than just the stadium and get all the bars downtown and all the restaurants and the schools and the businesses, and get all those people to white it out, as well,” he said. “Then we can get all the watch parties across the country to white it out, as well. It’s pretty cool.

“The whole state of Pennsylvania whited out, so we can take what we have that’s special in that stadium and grow it, and that’s what we’re trying to do with every aspect of our program, is to grow it.

“People say, ‘Well, I don’t have something white.’ Well, you have bleach. So to me, it’s something I think is already special, but I think it can get even bigger.”

Saturday night’s game was the 10th time Penn State hosted what it calls a full-stadium White Out. The Nittany Lions were 4-5 in the first nine, including 1-1 vs. Michigan.

Big yards early

Saquon Barkley had his third 100-yard rushing game of the season secured by the end of the first quarter.

The Nittany Lions’ Heisman Trophy contender rushed six times for 102 yards in the opening 15 minutes and scored on runs of 69 and 15 yards. He finished the half with 11 carries for 109 yards.

With a 21-13 lead at the half, Penn State already had scored more points against Michigan than any opponent this season, and its 302 total yards marked a season high by a Wolverines opponent. Michigan came into the game No. 1 in the nation in total defense, allowing 223.8 yards per game.

Picking off passes

Penn State entered Saturday night’s game with nine interceptions. Redshirt junior Amani Oruwariye was the team leader with three, including two in the last two contests.

He said the Lions’ success comes from the work Franklin and defensive coordinator Brent Pry put in with the secondary.

“Coach Franklin and coach Pry emphasize taking the ball away and working on the little things that can help us get our hands on more balls,” he said, “whether that’s on the JUGS machine all the time in the summer, or out there making these catches on the field with our own teammates.

“So we did as much work as we could in the offseason practicing that, and I think it’s paying off.”