My first thought after last week’s game was that those kinds of games end up closer than we think they should, more often than not. I mean, throw away 80-3 over Cincinnati back in the twilight of Joe’s era and that 70-point trouncing of Idaho a few years ago and prove me wrong. I’d like to believe that for all our thirst in the stands to pummel someone any chance we can, the Nittany Lions have been blessed twice now with a leader that has no interest in being a bully. It’s what we’ve come to know as the Penn State way, and it was on full display. After what we went through last year, I’m more than ok with some brotherly love and a 38-17 win over Villanova!
As Penn State fans, we have been trained to expect a lackluster win over an inferior opponent to guarantee a drop in the polls. This dates as far back as a ho-hum win over Indiana in the middle of the Nittany Lion’s undefeated run in 1994. In an eerie twist of fate, we woke up on Sunday to find Penn State had jumped two spots to No. 4 in the latest AP poll. As much as we tend to feel like the underdog, it’s living proof we’ve come to impress. It’s also as sure a sign as any that if JoePa helped to lay the foundation, James Franklin has done an amazing job keeping State’s reputation polished and bright. For that reason, and so many others over the past 7+ years under his watch, this week’s Lions Pride Game Ball goes to the man in charge, Coach Franklin, as a small token of all our appreciation!
Sean Clifford came out blazing, threw four touchdowns, and set a Beaver Stadium record for most passing yards in a game with 401. Jahan Dotson had a relatively light day at the office but still collected a tuddie and over 117 yards receiving before relinquishing his duties for the day to Parker Washington and Ke'Andre Lambert-Smith, who were nearly unstoppable.
The three-headed monster at tight end continues to inflict nightmares on anyone that stands in its way, as Tyler Warren was again the beneficiary of another goal-line ground and pound.
On defense, most of the starters only played a few series before handing over the reins, but not before PJ Mustifer, Arnold Ebekitie, and Cozziah Izzard all collected sacks and safety Ji'Ayir Brown hauled in an interception at the goal line to stop a Wildcat threat.
Last but not least, helmet stickers to the entire Wildcat program for coming in with nothing to lose and putting up such a hard-fought battle. The final score doesn’t quite indicate how dominate Penn State truly was, but in this case, a little brotherly love for our in-state neighbor from Philly along with a deep breath was just what we needed as the competition heats up from here on out.
Up next: Prime time in stripes and sweet revenge as last year’s 0-5 comes full circle. So, bring you’re A-game Nittany Nation, take care of business under the lights and we can finally put 2020 to rest once and for all!