Penn State suffered their second straight loss at Virginia last Saturday and much of the fans' ire was directed at kicker Sam Ficken, who missed four field goals and had an extra-point blocked. The Nittany Lions controlled the game on both sides of the ball, but failed to come up with points on several trips deep into Virginia territory. Ficken also missed a 42-yard field goal wide left as time expired.
It was an excruciating one-point loss and Ficken has taken some heat from PSU fans through social media channels. Head coach Bill O'Brien defended his sophomore kicker and took specific aim at those who anonymously attack in social media:
Well, obviously I think it's absolutely ridiculous. Not just because it's a 19‑year‑old college kid. It's just because ‑‑ I mean it's anonymous in some ways, and in other ways it's not.
But at the end of the day, you know, these guys are really playing hard, giving great effort for us. To go on whatever, space book or tweeter, or whatever and put stuff on there is just absolutely ridiculous to me and very cowardly, to be honest with you.
While O'Brien may not have the names of the social media networks accurate, his sentiment is certainly correct. Ficken will have a chance to redeem the mishaps against Virginia when the Nittany Lions host Navy this Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
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