You know when you’re at a party and some guy–your cousin, whoever–gets up to leave? He says he’s gotta run but then he takes an hour to say goodbye. He gets all ready to go but then he stands at the door, periodically holding onto the doorknob, still chatting. He’s the guy who doesn’t know he should have already left while we all stand in party limbo waiting for him to depart so we can get another plate of food or go sit down or have a conversation with anyone else. This is taking an awkwardly long amount of time and it's a little cringey. Just exit. Please. I’d call that guy a door-hanger. He’s literally hanging onto the door but not leaving.
Have I made this phrase up? Have you heard it? Please tell me if you have, or what you’d call that person, because in terms of Penn State Football, that guy was Northwestern. Could we not just be done with them and put the game away?
Listen, Saturday was sloppy. Weather like that isn’t called the great equalizer for no reason. Franklin said weather would never be an excuse for mistakes. Clifford also said he wasn’t trying to use the weather as an excuse but that it did make it difficult for him to find a rhythm. Following the game, he made this interesting comment:
"I feel like I’m pretty mentally tough, to be honest with you," he said. "I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but I’ve been through a lot here. There’s not much that gets under my skin anymore, just because of the ups and downs that have been my career. I’m pretty content right now."
In some ways Clifford is a bit of a door-hanger, too. Content with his career, is I guess how he meant it? I suppose it could be a thick skin posture–he also said he could throw four hundred yards and we’d still complain–but even assigning his best intentions, this still sounds like complacency to me.
Especially when you compare that attitude to Franklin who is not always at the top of everybody’s list either but is constantly talking about doing better, getting better, fixing, improving. Whether you like it or not, Franklin has a spark. I’d like to see Clifford find a spark. I can’t handle any more door-hanging, not with an October full of Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio State.
See? I complain sometimes, too. Maybe I can use the weather as an excuse for feeling cranky after that game? Now back to your regularly scheduled positivity.
First of all, an ugly win is still a win. We’re 5-0 once again. We’ve climbed our way to the top ten. We’re headed into a bye week with a plethora of areas for improvement. And we’re all very glad this contest didn’t turn into last year’s Illinois loss.
It’s thanks to the efforts of our defense that we were trading turnovers but not points. Every time we lost the ball, our defense made sure Northwestern couldn’t score. PJ Mustipher is credited with that incredible 4th and goal line stop and a team high eight tackles to boot. The Wildcats were held to just 31 yards on 28 carries, and one of those carries was 29 yards so do that math.
Our offense, in turn, scored fourteen points off of Wildcat turnovers. Brenton Strange hurtled impressively into the endzone for a touchdown and Nick Singleton’s mighty legs ran in another. Despite four fumbles, the Nittany Lions rushed for 220 yards.
Barney Amor is probably my favorite player right now; he is playing so well. Jake Pinegar made a 38-yard field goal in tough conditions.
And of course, our 105,000 faithful fans who braved the cold rain to cheer the Lions to victory. Fans who stay to the end aren’t so commonplace on great weather days and our team is lucky to have them.
What the next few weeks hold, nobody knows. We thought this team was great and now we’re not sure. None of us forget how we started 5-0 last season as well. Michigan is going to be a battle and two weeks hardly seems enough time to be ready. The sun will come out tomorrow, or maybe by Wednesday if you live near Philly, and I hope it’s (metaphorically) shining on us in two weeks in the Big House. Go State! Beat the Wolverines!