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James Franklin: Penn State has not played or coached to its standards

The Nittany Lions coach wasn't pleased with any phase of the offense in the 42-7 loss at Michigan. The Lions now must get ready for Wisconsin.

Tommy Stevens and the rest of the Nittany Lions' offense struggled on Saturday.
Tommy Stevens and the rest of the Nittany Lions' offense struggled on Saturday.Read morePaul Sancya / AP

When he watched the Michigan game tape last weekend, Penn State head coach James Franklin saw the same issues, mostly on offense, that he saw standing on the visitor's sideline at the Big House.

The Nittany Lions' 42-7 loss to the Wolverines was their worst since their last visit to Ann Arbor two years ago. It continued a five-game trend that has seen the Lions tumble from the unbeaten ranks to Big Ten East contender to a .500 team in its division, with its three defeats in that stretch coming against ranked teams.

Speaking Tuesday at his weekly teleconference, Franklin conceded that his team has not played or coached up to its standards.

"Obviously our standards and expectations are to win every game we play," he said. "We have not done that for a number of reasons. I think you can list them all out but at the end of the day, we have not played up to the standard that we have.

"Our standard is to go out and put ourselves in the best position to win every single game, and we haven't done that. So we will not be satisfied until we're in that situation."

Penn State, which will host Wisconsin on Saturday, could not move the ball against the powerful Michigan defense, picking up only 186 total yards and not scoring until the last two minutes.

The run game, which accounted for more than 200 yards in each of its first six games, managed just 68 against the Wolverines and averaged 2.3 yards per carry. Miles Sanders picked up only 14 yards on seven carries, and a failed handoff between he and Trace McSorley resulted in a lost fumble for the second straight game.

"That was a big story line in the game, up front, especially their D-line and linebackers against our O-line and tight ends, and we did not play well enough there," Franklin said. "We did not put our players in the best position enough. So we've got to get our running game established."

After averaging 252 yards on the ground the first six games, the Nittany Lions have averaged 120 in the last three. Franklin, who said in preseason that the offensive line would be a strength of the team, said it wasn't that way last week, though he added, "It's hard for me to answer that right after this past game."

As for the passing attack, the weekly issue of drops was overshadowed by protection issues resulting in five Michigan sacks. McSorley went down four times while completing 5 of 13 throws for 83 yards, one week after suffering a knee injury.

"We've got to be more consistent in the throws we make," Franklin said. "We've got to be more consistent in catching the ball. When we have an opportunity to make a play, we've got to make a play, and we've got to give our quarterback as much time as he needs to go through his progressions and his reads."

Franklin did say the defense "did some nice things." The Lions trailed, 14-0, late in the third quarter before Michigan caught fire with four touchdowns, two of them off turnovers.

"There were obviously times you'd love to get them off the field," he said. "But I think we had some opportunities to make it a very competitive game against a team on the road and we didn't do that."