Despite sustaining the injury in the second game of the season, the junior tight end, ranked as Mel Kiper Jr.’s second-best tight end prospect for the 2021 draft behind Florida’s Kyle Pitts, participated in the two games following his injury and recorded 13 receptions for 204 yards. He did not participate in Penn State’s 41-21 loss to Iowa on Saturday, however, and has now elected to have the surgery.
“We’re out a number of guys and have been out a number of guys since the beginning of the season, or preseason,” Franklin said. “But at the end of the day, the guys that we put on the field, we gotta put them in position to be successful and we gotta find ways fundamentally to help them.”
Penn State has been hit hard on offense, without running backs Journey Brown, who retired from football due to a medical condition, and Noah Cain, who sustained a leg injury in the season opener against Indiana.
Freiermuth is currently the second-leading receiver on the team with 310 yards and one touchdown, and was second on the team in receiving for the 2019 season as well with 507 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Nittany Lions are now 0-5 on the season and have allowed 30 or more points in six straight games dating back to last season, which is double any other streak in school history.
“We’re not playing well enough in all three phases,” Franklin said. “Offense, defense and special teams, we’re not playing well enough in either. We’ve had times in the past where we have struggled or started slow on offense and our defense has played well, or vice versa, or our special teams has come through for us. We’re not doing it really in all three areas.”