The Right Kind of Route

The Right Kind of Route

This season sure is off to a rollicking good time. All three games have been so fun to watch. No anxiety, just waiting to see what stunt Saquon and company will pull next.

We’ve got a dual quarterback dynamic, plus we got to see our third string QB jump into the action. We had eight different players scoring touchdowns. We’re setting Beaver Stadium records. We’ve got a defense making interceptions and recovering fumbles. There’s not much more to say about a route than that it was fun and exciting and I hope we do it again. Team and fan morale are soaring and all the hardship we’ve endured the last few seasons only makes it that much sweeter.

Then, with eleven seconds left, something interesting happened. I’ve been known to use the word “interesting” to mean “I really hate it” but this time I mean it sincerely: Franklin’s time out call was interesting. The Panthers were lined up for a field goal at the 13 yard line and Franklin called a timeout. Why?

As I started writing this, I was complaining a little that I couldn’t really read much about it; it obviously was only interesting to me, which is fine, but I kind of wanted a replay so I could just see it again. Careful what you wish for I guess because some sports talk guy in New York had a little freak out over it and now it seems like everybody is talking about it. Even Coach Franklin felt the need to respond to the criticism in his weekly press conference.

I’m not sure that reaction was necessary but I do find the whole thing interesting. I was interested in the call when it was made now I’m interested not only in the hubbub about it but also that it created such a stir.


Do you think if any other coach on any other team had called a timeout at that moment anyone would bat an eye? We hold ourselves to a higher standard at Penn State. We always have and I hope we always will. Did we achieve this shutout the right way? Or did we make a wrong turn?

Was it truly a case of the wrong, unprepared personnel on the field and a timeout was needed to get our team in order? Or did Franklin ice the kicker?

Are we a team that runs up the score or needs to preserve a shut out to get better rankings? Was this a message to the fans that this is no longer JoePa’s football, that we need to join the current cutthroat culture of college football? Or do our players and coaches simply play hard to the very last second of the game, no matter what the score or situation?

I’m not an armchair coach. I don’t have the answers. I just find it interesting.

Interesting, but not distracting because our attention now turns to Iowa, Iowa, Iowa.

My husband despises Iowa more than any other Big Ten opponent. The Iowa game in 2008 was the first time he watched a Penn State game with my family. We are brooders in my family, not yellers, and my dad told him that if he didn’t calm down, he’d have to watch through the window from outside. The following season, we got engaged the afternoon before the Iowa game and to watch the whole thing fall apart in the 4th quarter was kind of a bummer for an otherwise amazing day. I’m not sure he can forgive the Hawkeyes for putting a damper on his celebrating.

For me, it’s Michigan. I’m not sure I’m ever going to forgive the Wolverines for the bogus last seconds of the 2005 game. Also, it’s Michigan.

Both Michigan and Iowa have the potential and recent history of upsetting us on the road early in the season. And all of our recently displayed awesomeness comes with a price: a target on our backs. We are the team to beat; there will be no underestimating us this season. I do love the glory of the underdog story but this season I’m looking forward to standing strong at the top, where we’ve been excluded for so long. It’s finally our time to shine Nittany Nation. Go State! Beat the Hawkeyes!