Beautiful to Me

Beautiful to Me

…Is how Coach Franklin described Penn State’s 30-13 win over Illinois Saturday. Beautiful is maybe not how most of us would describe such an imperfect win. Unfortunately, we expect this type of game– Nittany Lions open Big Ten play on the road and no surprise, it looks like a struggle. Still, as we like to say around here, a win is a win. Not every win has to be perfect or pretty.

Despite two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, multiple dropped passes, and an offensive line that looked concerning, our offense didn’t turn the ball over once. We never quite gained control of the game, but we never lost it either. Including Felkins’ field goals and a cool Trey Potts TD pass trick play, our Lions put up 30 points. Penn State has scored at least 30 points in the last ten games, which is the longest streak in the country. 

If we’re talking defense, now that was beautiful to watch. Five turnovers! Adbul Carter, Daequan Hardy, Johnny Dixon, and Cam Miller all intercepted to end Illini drives. Dom DeLuca forced a fumble recovered by our own Kobe King.

As usual there is plenty of criticism and complaining about what this ugly-ish win means for our matchups against Michigan and Ohio State. Is Drew Allar overhyped? Will we succumb to the same old issues? Is Franklin terrible? How would the game have gone if our defense hadn’t come up with five turnovers?

Even if it was more blah than beautiful, it’s nevertheless one more tally in the win column. Even if a coach doesn’t publicly shame his players for their mistakes, it doesn't mean he’s not going to work to correct them in practice. And, as we all know by now, Penn State is bound to surprise us. Let’s take this win and hope for the best as the season progresses one game at a time, building momentum and correcting mistakes.

With the BigTen road opener behind us and plenty to learn from for next week, we turn our attention to our next BigTen test: Iowa. The Hawkeyes are a particular thorn in our side, managing to come up with wins way more often than we’d like. In 2021, Iowa felt like the season’s fulcrum; we started 5-0, lost to Iowa, ended with a 7–6 record. I’m grateful for the energy a white out crowd will bring, but don’t mind me if I’m holding my breath all night! Go State! Beat the Hawkeyes!