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Penn State coach James Franklin will lead his team into the final regular season game against Maryland on Saturday.

Penn State will be short on linebackers; Thanksgiving at James Franklin’s house

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Linebacker out again

Penn State linebacker Manny Bowen’s status with the team has been a bit of a mystery. Coach James Franklin made it clear Bowen violated some team rules, but has not elaborated further.

Bowen has missed the last two games for the Nittany Lions and will miss the regular season finale on Saturday at Maryland, leaving Penn State short of defenders again, writes The York Daily Record’s Frank Bodani.

The Centre Daily Times’ John McGonigal writes about the status of wide receiver Irvin Charles, who will also miss his second straight game due to disciplinary action.

Thanksgiving with the coach

The Nittany Lions will have a quick turnaround from Thanksgiving to getting on a plane and flying to Maryland for the season finale, but they will spend the holiday with coach James Franklin at his house, writes the Daily Collegian’s Jack R. Hirsh.

The players do not have to worry about classes because the campus is closed for the holiday break.

Questions to avoid

A lot more will be written over the next few weeks about whether running back Saquon Barkley will leave early for the NFL draft, and a lot has already been written about Barkley’s decision to play in whichever bowl game invites the Nittany Lions.

Franklin isn’t pleased with bowl-related questions about Barkley, writes the Morning Call’s Mark Wogenrich.

No more offensive line woes?

Barkley and the Penn State offensive line were in the spotlight over the lack of run production going back to the loss at Ohio State.

It had been a steady decline for the run production, but that situation improved last week in the win over Nebraska, writes John McGonigal. Offensive lineman Chasz Wright noted the improvement last week.

The stats don’t lie, says McGonigal:

For the first time in a long time, Wright and the offensive line had that against Nebraska. Penn State ran all over the Cornhuskers on Saturday as Saquon Barkley racked up 158 of the team’s 263 rushing yards, the Nittany Lions’ second-highest total on the ground all season.

Maryland, Penn State’s opponent on Saturday, ranks 10th in the conference in rush defense, allowing 182.2 yards per game.

Wait until next year

Lamont Wade came to Penn State one of the more highly touted members of the 2017 recruiting class, and the defensive back has been on the field in 10 of 11 games, but he hasn’t made much of an impact.

That is set to change in 2018, writes David Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Says Molinari:

Wade’s greatest impact so far probably has been on special teams; he forced a fumble while covering a punt during a 35-6 victory against Rutgers Nov. 12.

Wade is expected to see more special teams action on Saturday at Maryland.

A look back

Pennlive’s Deb Kiner digs deep in the Patriot-News archives to review the 1982 contest between Penn State and Maryland, a classic 39-31 Nittany Lions win in which quarterback Todd Blackledge threw 4 touchdown passes.

The win was the 19th in a row for the Nittany Lions, who would go on to win the first of Joe Paterno’s two national championships later that season.

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