Call it a Dae
Coming off a bye-week with a big test looming on the horizon– maybe we didn’t really worry, but I think we worried a little that the Nittany Lions might not completely show up. We’ve seen plenty of lackluster games in the past against unmatched opponents that did not go as we’d like. Add the gloomy, dreary, cold weather to the mix and, yeah, we might have had reason for concern. My ten year old said, “Once Penn State is up 35-0, I’ll be able to relax.”
Once again, we need not have fretted. Penn State put the game out of reach by halftime, and by the end of the third quarter was completely able to rest their starters. Not even steady rain and 40 degree temperatures could put a damper on Penn State’s day.
And what a DAE it was! Daequan Hardy became the first Penn State player ever to record two punt return touchdowns in the same game and was the first Big Ten player to do so in a decade. Daequan Hardy added a new wrinkle to our special teams that will hopefully, as James Franklin predicted, cause some long nights for opponents looking at film and trying to figure out how to defend this weapon.
In his post-game press conference, Coach Franklin also pointed to a balanced offense, complimentary football, and a game-controlling defense as keys to the team’s success. He asserted his team’s focus, leadership, and ability to get better each week.
Joe Paterno used to say, “You're gonna get better or you're gonna get worse, but you're not gonna stay the same. Which will it be?” So far, we are getting better. We are finding a way to win in a different scenario every weekend: on the road, in the rain, at home, at 11am, in the heat, against conference opponents, against non-conference opponents.
If next week against Ohio State is the real test, this week was the final review. Our defense recorded 7 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, and allowed just 109 yards. On offense, Drew Allar completed 16-of-23 passes for 162 yards and three scores. Trey Wallace returned to the lineup with three catches, and Theo Johnson flipped into the endzone for a TD. And of course, Daequan Hardy surprised us twice. Walking off the field with a resounding win of 63-zip, happy, healthy, feeling strong? I’d say WE ARE ready for the test.Let’s call this game a Dae, celebrate our bowl eligibility and our 6-0 record, and turn our energy toward next weekend’s battle in the Horseshoe. Go State! Beat the Buckeyes!