Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back
(Welcome back, Kotter theme anyone? No?)
Welcome back to an enthralling new season of Penn State Football. Ranked 7th coming into Saturday with a new quarterback (finally) stepping up to the starting position, this season promises excitement and (fingers crossed) a lot of wins.
Welcome back to Tom Bradley as the ceremonial coin tosser. It’s been nearly a decade since his familiar face graced Beaver Stadium, and it brings back all the feels from the Paterno era. Bradley lettered as a player in the late 70s, was an assistant coach in the 80s, and was named our defensive coordinator in 2000. He stepped up as Interim Head Coach in 2011, defeating Ohio State on the road, and holding us together through the tumultuous end of the season. Oh, and he’s a Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Famer to boot. I hope this is only the beginning of Scrap’s renewed visible presence in our Penn State community.
Welcome back to the numerous lettermen supporting from the sidelines. Three quarterbacks with 300-yard passing games were in attendance; Sean Clifford, Michael Robinson, and Todd Blackledge watched as Drew Allar’s performance made it four.
Welcome back to the 110,000+ fans who made the season opener the fourth highest attended game in Beaver Stadium history. Welcome back to the West Virginia Mountaineers, whom we have not battled since 1992.
It was a glorious day for football, weather wise, and an exciting win with a new leader at the helm. Drew Allar made an impressive start connecting with KeAndre Lambert-Smith for a 72-yard touchdown on the opening drive. He completed 21 of 29 for 325 yards and three touchdowns. He appeared poised and confident both on the field and in post-game interviews. I try not to get ahead of myself, but I’m really looking forward to seeing if this guy turns out to be The Guy.
The Nittany Lions got the job done on both sides of the ball, with the defense needing to clean things up before we get to BigTen play. Curtis Jacobs led the team with ten tackles, including a sack.
Two missed field goals and a bad punt on special teams was a bit cringeworthy. Franklin felt confident in his post-game interview about depth– “if it's not a guy’s night, the next guy can step up” –and Felkins’ field goal in the second half is evidence of that.
All in all it was a solid, if not exciting, win over a good West Virginia team. Enough to chat happily about at our Labor Day picnics and to build some optimism to carry into the season.
Welcome back to all of you, back here with me for another promising season of Penn State Football. I don’t know if Drew Allar and this team of Lions will live up to their hype, but I’ll be here all season hoping so and watching it all pan out. Thanks for joining me for the ride. See you next weekend! Go State, Beat the Blue Hens!