I honestly do feel sorry for Ronnie Bell. It was tough watching his emotional response to dropping that fourth-down pass in the end zone. He may never get over that one. I hope he won’t take the blame for their loss on his own shoulders, but that was not his finest hour.
Some of our fans are already complaining that our White Out win against the Wolverines was not our finest hour either. We can all see their point. Our Nittany Lions came in with a bang, putting twenty-one points on the board like it was easy then fizzling out. It felt like they hung on by a thread for the entire rest of the game. We groaned and we bit our nails and we held our collective breath. Until finally, after an eternity passed, the game clock expired. We all would have liked to hold onto the far more comfortable three-touchdown lead. We all wanted the game managed a bit better. What we saw in the second half just makes us that much more nervous about the big games to come.
And yet, we also saw that KJ Hamler was on fire. We cheered our hearts out for his second-quarter touchdown catch, his perfect connection with Clifford on that 53-yard catch, and when his third-down run put the game away for good. We saw Ricky Slade breakthrough for a huge 44-yard run, as well as highlights from Journey Brown, Noah Cain, Pat Freiermuth, and Sean Clifford. We watched our defense endure all four quarters to finally make a goal-line stand. Garrett Taylor had a sack and Tariq Castro-Fields, an interception. Blake Gillikin gave Michigan the field position we needed. All of this goodness set to the background noise of our fourth-largest crowd, 110,669, who experienced the sheer awe of a whiteout in Beaver Stadium, while the rest of us marveled at its impressive beauty in the aerial views on our TVs.
It’s nights like this one that remind me of Joe Paterno’s 400th win quote: “People ask me why I stay here so long and you know what? Look around…look around!”
A White Out night game. A win against Michigan. The Clifford/Hamler post-game love fest. Our Nittany Lions, arm in arm, gathered below the student section to sing together. The ringing of the victory bell.
That’s a seriously fine hour to be a Penn Stater.