Oh hey Penn State sitting at 3 and 0! How many other teams can say they’ve got a road win against a Big Ten team plus a road win against an SEC team by mid-September?
I have to admit that I got myself in trouble last week for possibly giving you the impression that my pint-sized Notre Dame fan was not also a Penn State fan, and he would like me to assure you that he is a Nittany Lion first and foremost.
And while we’re all jazzed over here about this season so far, we’re not getting too hyped. We all remember that we beat Auburn in our third game last season and sat at 3-0 and look where that season went. Cautiously optimistic is where we attempt to remain.
It’s so tough though after such a dominant win in Jordan-Hare Stadium, a venue a current big ten team hasn’t visited in over a hundred years! A home stadium that hadn’t seen a loss in seventeen games!
It’s tough to stand in ‘cautiously optimistic’ when your defense has six sacks, multiple tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, and two highlight-worthy interceptions. Coach Franklin called the defensive play a “dynamic disruption” and a truer, more fan-pleasing alliteration has never been spoken. There’s always room for improvement – the third and long situation for instance – but our defense looked very good.
It’s even harder to stay calm when the special teams phase plays a solid game: nothing fancy, no real mistakes, just reliable and consistent. And, Jake Pinegar comes off an unconvincing performance last week to boot a 48 yarder and the kick is good!
How do you not get downright excited watching Nick Singleton put up 124 yards to earn back to back 100 yard rushing games and two touchdowns? And fellow freshman Kaytron Allen also had a pair of touchdowns? Or when Sean Clifford looks as confident as ever and pulls off a trick play to get his first career reception in the books? When your wide receivers drop zero balls? When your team finally, finally has a running game?!
We came into this season unranked, with a small but steady hope of a decent run. We were like kids riding our bikes at the bottom of the hill looking up, thinking UGH this is going to be arduous.
And now we’re off to a 3-0 start and we’re ranked 14th. Now we’re at the top of the hill looking down, thinking this might actually be fun.
Like last season, it might not be. There’s always a chance something might go sideways.
But the anticipatory exhilaration of being at the top of the hill on your bike... that's this Penn State 3-0 team. I’m excited (I mean, I’m cautiously optimistic!) to find out what our Nittany Lions will do next. Hopeful hearts and fingers crossed: Go State! Beat the Chippewas!