Game Ball & Helmet Stickers: Lion Up

Game Ball & Helmet Stickers: Lion Up

Too close for comfort, but a win is a win. That is exactly what I was told by a bonafide legend of Linebacker-U I just happened to cross paths with on a leisurely walk back to my car after Saturday’s 34-24 win over Indiana. I’ll leave his name unmentioned out of pure respect but who am I to argue with someone with a pedigree like his, both collegiately and professionally? He truly summed it up best. Too close for comfort, but a win is a win. And we’ve got nine now under our belt, out of 10 played. Not too shabby for a first-year starter at QB and a squad overall that was expected to feel some growing pains as they transitioned this year.

Make no mistake, those growing pains are front and center, but a win is a win all day long. We needed this one. To end it on an 18-play, nine-minute-long methodical march into the end zone was the icing on the cake. The leader of that game-winning drive is banged up, battered and bruised, staring at a brick wall that most first-year starters do this late in the season, but he lion’d up when his squad needed him the most. It wasn’t always pretty, but again, a win is a win and Sean Clifford, this Game Ball belongs to you.

On offense, KJ was KJ until concussion protocol took over early on. In his absence, a so-called one-dimensional team proved otherwise as Mac Hippenhammer made some timely plays, Journey Brown racked up another 100 on the ground, and Nick Bowers came through again in the clutch. The O-Line has been the least of our concerns lately and in a nod to the old ‘Lion’ position, backup quarterback Will Levis came in and ran the Wildcat to perfection including a 4th and 1 conversion on the final drive.


Defensively, there is no sugarcoating the struggle. With the exception of Micah Parsons and true freshman Marquise Wilson, there is little to feel good about heading into the land mine that awaits. For the second week in a row, there was no pressure on the quarterback, surefire interceptions slipped right through our hands, and battle-tested veterans that have played a ton of ball for us were caught completely out of position. None of us know the cure so all we can do right now is have faith and believe this hiccup will fix itself just as quickly as it reared its ugly head.

But again, a win is a win. A legend in Blue and White told me so firsthand and he would know more than most of you. Penn State went 1 and 0 over the weekend and there’s nothing out there to prevent the Lions from going 1 and 0 again next week too. Nobody is giving us a chance and with a sea of scarlet and grey that’s ready to smother us whole, there is no other choice but to lion up, lock arms together, and run headfirst into the storm!