Penn State will be down two starters in the Rose Bowl due to suspensions.
The joy of taking part in the Rose Bowl festivities was dampened a bit for Penn State on Wednesday with the announcement that two players would not be playing in the game. The school announced that starting wide receiver Saeed Blacknall and starting linebacker Manny Bowen were suspended for a violation of team rules.
No details were given about the nature of the rules violated.
Head coach James Franklin stated to the media on Tuesday that some players had been suspended, but he wouldn’t specify who or for what.
Thin at linebacker all seaosn, losing Bowen for the Rose Bowl is huge. He had a major impact on defense this season, racking up 68 total tackles and two sacks. Bowen started every game since Week 2 and was a stable part of a unit that was hit with injuries all season.
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Bowen accounted for 15 total tackles in Penn State’s final two games and will now leave a big hole to be filled. Koa Farmer is the likely replacement for Bowen at outside linebacker. Farmer appeared in every game this year and made one start. He made 27 total tackles, including three sacks.
Blacknall started the last six games and recently developed into a key piece of Penn State’s passing attack. The six-foot-three junior has a height advantage on many defensive backs and has shown an ability to go up and get the ball. Blacknall had begun to turn into the biggest downfield threat for the Nittany Lions.
He was coming his best game of the year in the Big Ten Championship. Against the Badgers he pulled in six receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
With Blacknall out of the Rose Bowl, look for speedster DeAndre Thompkins to start in his place.
The loss of both Bowen and Blacknall will be a big blow for the Nittany Lions as they try to end their magical season with a 10th consecutive victory.