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Ferentz on fans who booed injured Penn State players: ‘they smelled a rat’

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz talks with an official during the second half of an NCAA college...
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz talks with an official during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Penn State, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa won 23-20.(Matthew Putney | AP Photo/Matthew Putney)
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 6:08 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The head football coach for the University of Iowa addressed a behavior by fans at last Saturday’s game against Penn State University that has caused some controversy among fans.

During his weekly press conference, coach Kirk Ferentz acknowledged that some players for the Nittany Lions “were legitimately hurt” during the game against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. While not directly claiming that any Penn State injuries were illegitimate, he seemed to offer some defense for fans that expressed disdain for some of the visiting team’s injury timeouts by booing.

“I think, probably, it’s a reaction to there were a couple guys that were down for the count, and then were back a play or two later. And our fans aren’t stupid, they’re watching, they know what’s going on,” Ferentz said. “I’ve been here 23 years I think that’s only the second time we have seen that kind of stuff going on.”

Ferentz said that two members of the football team’s staff have been at other schools where players were directed, using code words, to fake an injury to gain a stoppage of play. He did not accuse Penn State of being one of those teams in his remarks.

Penn State’s quarterback Sean Clifford, defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher, and safety Jonathan Sutherland were all injured during the course of the game and did not return.

Read the interaction at Ferentz’s press conference below (transcript provided by University of Iowa Athletics):

Q. Do you have any thoughts on with the injuries, it’s been talked about out there, curious the other night if you noticed that?

KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, heard a little bit. Football’s a hard competitive tough game and fans are into it just like everybody else is into it and, first of all, I know a couple players were legitimately hurt, I know that, I saw one sitting on the bench, for whatever reason, there was an opening and I saw him and I know he had an ice bag on his leg. Obviously the quarterback didn’t come back. So I hope those guys are well, I don’t know what their status is, nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. Nobody. But I think probably it’s a reaction to there were a couple guys that were down for the count and then were back a play or two later and our fans aren’t stupid, they’re watching, they know what’s going on. I’ve been here 23 years I think that’s only the second time we have seen that kind of stuff going on. I know it’s a topic nationally right now, it was one of the discussions of the rules, they don’t quite, nobody knows the answer to it, but it’s -- and I also know for a fact that people -- I’m not saying, I just, there are two people in our building that have been places where that was “scuba” or “dive” -- no “scuba” and “turtle” were the code words. So it goes on, we don’t coach it, haven’t really been exposed to it and our fans, I thought they smelled a rat, I guess, I don’t know, so they responded the way they responded.

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