Penn State linebacker Manny Bowen will miss the Nittany Lions’ bowl game for the second season in a row.
Bowen will not play in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 30, Penn State head coach James Franklin said at Friday’s media day. Bowen, who was suspended for last season’s Rose Bowl, did not play in the Nittany Lions’ final three regular season games this season against Rutgers, Nebraska and Maryland due to a violation of team rules.
When asked if Bowen would be with the program beyond the Fiesta Bowl, Franklin did not offer comment — simply reiterating that the linebacker won’t be available out in Arizona.
In nine games, the junior racked up 51 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. In 2016, Bowen started 12 games and racked up 68 tackles and saw time as a true freshman in 2015.
Senior Brandon Smith, who took Bowen’s spot on the depth chart, is expected to continue to replace the New Jersey native. Smith started at the “Will” position against Rutgers, Nebraska and Maryland, racking up 28 tackles in that span.
“At this point with the way Smitty’s stepped up and the way he’s played, we’re full steam ahead,” Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry said. “I think we’ll be in good shape.”
Added Smith: “If that’s the opportunity I’ll have, then I’m thankful for it. ... This will be a great opportunity to play against a good opponent on a big stage, have fun and enjoy my last time out there.”