Game Ball & Helmet Stickers: The Moment of Truth
Nostalgia is a beautiful thing at times but this era of Penn State Football has bigger fish to fry at the moment and Pitt just doesn’t fit in the schematics of it all. For the record, App State won 49-6 yesterday, albeit against a far lesser opponent than us, as their QB went 14-14 and set a school record, in case inquiring minds wanted to know. They gave us the scare of a lifetime and Pitt just withered away on their own home turf. Kudos to all those in Blue and White that stayed and braved the rain after their fans headed for the exits at halftime only down eight. I’ve come to expect nothing less from us as loyalty proves itself time and again.
If this really was The Moment of Truth as I predicted, then we passed with flying colors on one of the soggiest of nights in the Steel City. I’ve got plenty of options for this week’s Game Ball including last week’s duo of Trace and KJ, or Miles Sanders who keeps churning out some hard-fought yards and is making us all forget for a brief moment that SuperQuon has moved on. I could easily go with James FrankLion for all the doubters out there that chose to take the low-road again after game one; all of whom loyalty does not ring a bell and never will. Heck, I could be a little devious and hand it out to his counterpart Pat Narduzzi for pretty much guaranteeing we'll never see his mug again after that debacle of a coaching performance on the national stage.
Despite all the people to choose from after that 51-6 thrashing, there truly is only one individual that comes to mind after all the negativity and armchair coaching they had to endure during the past week: The Defense. That defense may have given up some yards on the ground in the first half but after a goal-line stuff on fourth and three, that defense finally flipped a switch and turned into a wall of granite. Pitt managed all of eight total yards up until the reserves came in with a few minutes to go. EIGHT yards. For a team like Pitt that grinds it out and had some success at the beginning, that number is ridiculous. Whether it was a case of halftime adjustments or just a case of it all starting to click, a defense that at any given time has six or seven freshmen and sophomores on the field at once rose to the occasion and completely took the life out of their rival and earned this week’s Game Ball – not to mention a ton of respect.
As for Helmet Stickers, will the trio of T-Money, KJ (already on a first name basis) the Human Joystick, and Miles Sanders please stand up? DeAndre Thompkins, that punt return was a killer and Blake Gilliken pinned them deep all night long. As a matter of fact, after being gashed a week ago, the entire special teams unit gets a helmet sticker today for flipping the script in dominating fashion. Sean Clifford, we see you out there floating rainbows and Mac Hippenhammer, kudos to you for your first TD as well. Brandon Polk and Mark Allen, nice to see you get in on the act, and as much as we still miss Mike Gesicki, the trio of Jon Holland, Danny Dalton, and Pat Friermuth served warning that we still have options.
One week after having our hearts nearly ripped out to open the season, we rolled into Pittsburgh and planted our flag with a thunderous roar. A wise old man used to say the biggest improvement was between week one and week two. His name was JoePa and turns it out, he was right. After Saturday night's butt-kicking of an old foe, even Joe has to be looking down with a smile and a ton of pride at the way FrankLion carried the torch! A couple of tune-up teams lie in wait which is just what this squad of young cubs need with a blizzard already in sight to end the month. Kent State, Kent State, Kent State, Kent State…