Penn State linebacker Manny Bowen is “not available” for the third straight week, while wideout/punt-team gunner Irvin Charles — who missed the Nebraska game — is a “gametime” decision for Saturday, Nittany Lions coach James Franklin announced Tuesday.
Charles’ absence isn’t nearly as concerning as Bowen’s. Charles has one catch and seven tackles. Bowen’s 51 tackles still rank third on the team.
The junior linebacker missed Penn State’s 35-6 win over Rutgers due to “a violation of team rules” and didn’t play against Nebraska, either. Senior Brandon Smith started in Bowen’s place both weeks — racking up 10 and 13 tackles against the Scarlet Knights and Cornhuskers, respectively.
But sophomore Cam Brown could get more run at the position this weekend.
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Brown, who’s worked more freely at the “Sam” linebacker spot in the past, started practicing at “Will” — Bowen’s position — during the Rutgers’ week practice. That coincides with Bowen’s suspension.
Given his positive play, expect that Smith starts in Bowen’s place on Saturday — but Brown should see time at both Will and Sam, like he did against Nebraska. He’s listed as the second-stringer at both positions.
Brown welcomed the challenge on a Tuesday conference call.
“You never turn down an opportunity,” the sophomore said.
For the first time this season, Marcus Allen won’t have his “road dog” beside him starting at safety.
Troy Apke is set to miss the first half of Saturday’s game after a fourth-quarter targeting call against Nebraska. Apke, an underrated piece to the Nittany Lion defense, has 50 tackles (tied for fourth on the team) and started all 10 games alongside Allen so far this season.
In Apke’s first-half absence, Allen said he’s “going to play my heart out for him.”
“Oh man that’s a big one. That hurt me a little bit,” Allen said. “He’s a senior, and he would love to play the full game for his last (regular season) game. That’s just going to make me go harder for my boy, ‘Trap.’”
“I want them to understand what Thanksgivings are like at the Franklins. I don’t want them to come dressed up and formal. It is sleep, it is eat, it is watch football, fall asleep on the couch, play ping-pong, board games, pool, eat, sleep, rotate the rest of the day. I’m hoping that they’ll come and slobber on my couch and eat turkey and just chill because to me it’s just about family and about spending quality time with each other and taking a time to be thankful for all the blessings that we do have.” — Franklin, on hosting four Nittany Lions and their families for Thanksgiving