Positive, If Imperfect

Positive, If Imperfect

I went searching for positives this morning because I knew there’d be a lot of grief after the win against Central Michigan. There were plenty of mistakes to gripe about and plenty of people who want to do the complaining; I’ll leave that to the couch coaches.

Of course we want every game to be a rout of an SEC team in their home stadium, but obviously we can’t expect that. It’s not the first time we’ve played down to an opponent's level, and we’re certainly not the only team out there that looked a bit sloppy against an unranked team this weekend. Not every win has to be perfect.

The fact is Penn State beat Central Michigan in front of a Happy Valley full house and there’s plenty to celebrate. 

Clifford passed for 217 yards–including a completion to his little brother Liam– three touchdowns, and ran in a fourth. Drew Allar saw playing time for the fourth consecutive game.

Kaytron Allen had 111 yards on 13 carries, including a career long 37 yarder. More than one running weapon is promising, especially when the opponents had Nick Singleton’s number. Brenton Strange caught all five passes thrown his way, including two touchdowns. Parker Washington caught a team-high six passes for 64 yards.

On defense we can celebrate another game featuring four turnovers: two interceptions plus a penalty-recalled third and two fumbles recovered. And, a shutout in the second half.

Place kicking was a mess with a missed field goal and a blocked extra point, but the real positive on special teams is the run-on story. No, not Chad Powers. I’m talking about our man Barney Amor. Two of his dynamite punts resulted in touchdowns on the ensuing drive: one landing just in front of the pylon before spinning back out of bounds at the three and another 51 yarder that was muffed by a Chippewa and recovered by Curtis Jacobs.

Playing inconsistently against an unranked team calms the excitement all the way down for real now. We’re 1-0 this week. We moved up a few spots in the rankings. We were effective if not particularly pretty and the positives abound.

Here’s hoping our Nittany Lions put in an excellent week of preparation for Northwestern. 

It will be the first time we meet the Wildcats since we beat them 31-7 in 2017. They haven’t made an appearance in Beaver Stadium since 2014, when Coach Fitzgerald earned Franklin his first loss as our new coach after a (gulp) 4-0 start. 

You know what’s even better than starting your season 4-0? This perfect fall football weather. Get outside and we’ll meet back here this weekend to take on Northwestern. Go State! Beat the Wildcats!