Turn It Over
I hope your heart’s not too broken today. It’s only a game, right?
But, oh it's only THE game, the one we most want to win every single season. The game that eludes us every year. This one’s a tough one to let go, especially when it looked like we had a real chance.
Off to a shaky start with two interceptions and trailing 10-0 by the end of the first quarter, we came roaring back with a Parker Washington catch plus a 58 yard run into the endzone and a KeAndre Lambert-Smith 23 yard touchdown catch. Just like that hope was restored along with a one point lead. We managed to head into the half off a Johnny Dixon sack of CJ Stroud to force a fumble and with a 14-13 lead and all the momentum.
In the second half, Katron Allen muscled into the end zone after a super weird series of two missed but negated field goals and a goal line fumble. Our go-ahead touchdown was on the board with nine minutes to go.
And then the deluge. Three plays later the Buckeyes retook the lead. Clifford fumbled for another OSU score. Jake Pinegar, whose play is an enigma, hit a 44 yarder that brought us back into a one score game. An Ohio State touchdown frustratingly followed and then Clifford threw a pick six and that was it. A waterfall of OSU scores resulting in a PSU drowning defense and sputtering offense.
It’s hard not to turn over the what-ifs in my mind. What if those three to five plays Clifford has been determined to change had been different? What if there hadn’t been four stinking turnovers? What if the defense had held instead of allowing the dam to break?
Still, we’ve got to give our Nittany Lions credit where it’s due; they went toe to toe with the Buckeyes for fifty-one of those long sixty minutes.
But, fifty-one minutes isn't enough.
I’m not claiming moral victory because I don’t think it was. Continually losing to Ohio State is continually heartbreaking. Yet I’d rather have my heart broken knowing we had a fighting chance than by getting outplayed start to finish. There’s still the potential for this to be a great season, provided this loss doesn’t cause us to lose our sense of excellence or worth and become a tragedy.
Turn over that heartbreak into resolve to be 1-0 next week. Go State! Beat the Hoosiers!