James Franklin’s team surprised everyone in 2016.
The Lions ripped off nine straight wins after a 2-2 start and outlasted Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin for the B1G Championship.
In Franklin’s third year with the Lions, he picked up an impressive national award. On Wednesday, he was named the Sporting News Coach of the Year.
Franklin edged out the likes of Washington’s Chris Petersen and Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre, both of whom also led their teams back to prominence.
Franklin led Penn State to its first B1G title of the post-Joe Paterno era. Under Franklin’s tutelage, Trace McSorley set Penn State’s single-season records for yardage.
Penn State nearly overcame that 2-2 start and made it to the College Football Playoff. But the team predicted to finish fourth in its own division will head into the postseason with a No. 5 national ranking.
The Lions have more damage to do in 2016. Franklin will lead the Lions against USC in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2.
Award season isn’t over for Franklin. The co-B1G Coach of the Year is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, which is presented annually to the top coach in college football.