Failure and Excellence

Failure and Excellence

Well, we failed that test. Here I sit in my local coffee shop trying to offer something positive and hopeful, but I have to be honest, this loss is tough to swallow. 

This was our chance, and we blew it. And we’ve been blowing it since our last win over the Buckeyes in 2016. It’s upsetting; it really is. We begin to wonder if we won’t ever win against this team. It feels defeating: Not only this one game, but about our program as a whole. 

We all thought our offense was holding back to take OSU by surprise but no, they just didn’t have it. Not with one for sixteen on third down conversions. Not without a run game. Not with pass after pass sailing away or dropped or missed or tipped. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief. Where was the team we were expecting?

Coach Franklin opened his remarks by saying we just watched the two best teams in college football. I’m not sure I can fully agree with that sentiment, but if you want to boil it down to the two best defenses? Yeah, that looked to be true. In the end, even our talented defensive crew couldn’t do it all. If we could have one play back, it’d be the revoked scoop and score.

Drew’s post-game interview was emotional, assessing his performance as “sucked.” He kept saying, “at the end of the day we have to improve…” While I appreciate his competitor's spirit, I think at the end of the day we all have to remember it’s a game. It’s not life or death. There will be better days and better games to come.

Let’s be disappointed. Let’s be sad. We all pinned our hopes on this one. We built the whole season up to this one test and we failed it. Our inability to beat Ohio State is what it is. Frustrating? Yes. A problem? Absolutely. Can we view it as a challenge? With curiosity? As in, I wonder what they’ll do to try to solve it next? 

It’s easier to blame a guy, whether your guy of choice be Allar, Yurcich, or Franklin, but life and football are rarely that simple. I personally would rather take another 10-2 season than start over. There’s success here. It’s not a national championship success, but it’s not the early 2000s failure either. 

You can holler “Fire Franklin” if you want; I’ll still point out the positive. You can wash your hands of them if you want; I’ll still maintain my pride for a university and a program that I love, even in the wake of an ugly loss. I’ll still be here rooting for a team that’s deep in my heart even if they lose to Ohio State for the rest of their existence.

Take heart Nittany Lions, it feels like the season is over, but it is not. It’s not all anger out there. Look around and you’ll see plenty of lionhearted fans telling our players to keep their heads up. There are more games to play. There are more opportunities to get what we want out of this season. It may feel as if our program will never be elite, but I do believe if we put our emotions aside momentarily there is evidence that we already are. Losing a game is heartbreaking. Let us not lose our sense of excellence or worth.

Deep breaths. Regroup. See you in Beaver Stadium next weekend. Go State! Beat the Hoosiers!