Shutting Out a Rivalry
Some Saturdays, particularly in November, the majority of us are happy we’re watching from our couches, am I right? I’ve experienced some miserable weather in Beaver Stadium from brutal late August sun to last weekend in November snow. Saturday’s 30 to 0 shut out of the Maryland Terrapins ranks up there in terms of worst weather.
November weather in Happy Valley can be tough to endure, but it’s not enough to stop Penn Staters from thoroughly enjoying a win that looked easy against a team that pretends it doesn’t want to be our rival. Our relationship with the Terps is a weird one. We’re not going to forget the infamous handshake refusal. They’ve got a couple wins on us, but we’ve got a 41-3-1 hold on the series. We draw players from the same recruiting areas. I almost feel for them as the younger sibling who doesn’t measure up in any way at all. Even still, I thought it’d be a close one and I’ve never been happier to be completely mistaken.
Penn State scored as many points before half as Maryland had offensive yards: 27. Clifford broke Trace McSorely’s record to become the all-time leading passer in Penn State history and Penn State’s first 10,000 yard passer. Nick Singleton earned a Penn State freshman record for touchdowns on the season and two fourth-and-one breakthrough touchdown runs; I’d watch him drag a defender twenty yards to the endzone all day.
The Lions’ defense played spectacularly even minus Joey Porter, Jr and Curtis Jacobs. A forced three-and-out with a sack by Zane Durant on Maryland's first possession set the tone for the afternoon. Thirty-one players had at least one tackle recorded. Maryland’s QB got sacked seven times. Abdul Carter led with seven tackles, a sack, and a tackle for loss. Chop Robinson had two sacks and two tackles for loss against his former team. And to top it off, our second string defense was able to stop Maryland late in the fourth quarter to preserve the shut out.
On special teams, Barney let us down but look at Jake Pinegar hitting all three attempted field goals from 50, 46, and 21 yards!
The most impressive part of the game was the sheer volume of fans who showed up knowing they’d have to suffer through miserable, wet, cold to the bone weather. Penn State fans are not to be taken for granted. Coach Franklin reminded the press in his postgame conference, “Good weather at the beginning of the year, tough weather in the middle of the year, doesn’t matter. Our fans come out. And it differentiates us, and it makes us special at a time when it’s hard to find ways to differentiate yourselves in college football.”
When you have close to 100,000 fans who show up for a game on a rainy Saturday in the 40s with the temperature dropping as the game goes on and when you have at least 20,000 fans still there when you have the game well in hand and the temperature continues to drop, you have something special. Why are they there? To see Clifford break McSorley’s record? To see Singleton pull ahead with the freshman record? To see Drew Allar get in? They’re there because they’ve got Penn State in their blood. You don’t see this kind of commitment to a team year after year from the majority of other schools. We complain, we bicker, we sometimes even wallow, but we undeniably care deeply about this program, these players, and what they do or do not. Penn State fans are truly unrivaled.
Next week, we get to watch our Nittany Lions do it all over again. Can we get back to back shutouts? Go State! Beat the Scarlet Knights!