It’s the kind of win you can relish in all week. Watch Saquon Barkley high step the game winning touchdown into the end zone a few times. Let it evoke glorious memories of the triple overtime win in the 2006 Orange Bowl and the epic quadruple overtime win against Michigan in 2013.
You guys did it. You suited up. I think you all were really out there backing that line. I’ll admit even I had all but given up at halftime. I was preparing myself for this to be bad. Last week bad. (I know, right? After all I wrote about backing the line last week and I barely had it in me until halftime. Sheesh.)
What is it that happens at halftime? I’ve always wondered. I mean, I know there are adjustments and coaching and pep talks but what is that magic that puts all those things together into a completely different team. If I didn’t know better, I’d say a different team did come out in the second half. But, we’ve watched this team battle from the start. They are all guts. Not the risky kind of take a chance guts; the grit it out, keep the faith, never quit type of guts.
John Black wrote in The Football Letter, “If last week’s game was a massacre in Michigan, Saturday’s was a miracle in Beaver Stadium.” It might seem like a miracle but you and I know that it’s no happy accident. It’s that this team refuses to quit. It must be something about the nature of a Nittany Lion. We battle together every day to uncover the truth, correct false narratives, and turn around our leadership. It’s truly an unrivaled spirit. I love being a part of it and I love seeing it reflected on the field.
People keep talking about a signature win for Franklin. I have no idea what that means. I do know that this was a signature Penn State win, because this is a signature Penn State team. Answering a big loss with an underdog, come-from-behind, emotional win. All heart and never-give-up spirit. Gutting it out until your chance for glory presents itself.
This is what happens when you believe. When you’re the underdog in every phase of the game. When it’s raining. When the door to victory opens by the tiniest fraction. You believe and by sheer force of will, you pry that door open and-- if you’re Saquon Barkley-- you dance right through it.