We've Got to Keep on Moving

We've Got to Keep on Moving

I’m always getting songs stuck in my head. I can’t stop singing that 80s song:
Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down, oh-no
I got to keep on moving

I don’t know about you but I’ve felt pretty speechless about the big win on Saturday--in a good way! I’ve been shaking my head and smiling a lot. Have that little extra skip in my step. Couldn’t wait to see that annoying neighbor who made all the comments last weekend. Beyond “Wow,” “Can you believe it,” and “What a win,” I haven’t been able to muster much more. The game just seems to speak for itself!

I mean, wow! You just can’t beat a win like that. Michigan. Homecoming. Sold out, white out crowd. It’s a game of a lifetime for those players and for the fans who attended. And for the rest of us too, those of us sitting at home cheering our hearts out silently so as not to wake the baby and risk missing a single, scintillating second.

joe pa 400Driving up to the Northwestern game in 2010, a pre-game show announcer said, “Having a ticket to today’s game is like holding a winning lottery ticket.” Boy was he right. A second half come from behind win under the lights. JoePa’s 400th. It was pure magic. Did you ever wonder what was said at halftime? It must have been something great because our teams always came out stronger in the second half.

Recently I’ve worried that the half-time magic was missing. We seem to be faltering in the second half. Running out of steam and sometimes heart. I know we are down on scholarships and players but I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe O’Brien didn’t quite have the magic yet.

This second half started out as I’d feared. Already out of steam and heart in the first drive? So much for the momentum. I’ll admit it; I was emotionally preparing for the worst. Maybe you keep the faith better than I. A loss to Michigan on homecoming was going to break my heart. But then hope began to return. Prayers offered to the football gods. Could this really happen?

Can you believe it? Can you believe how the players hung in there to keep Michigan’s lead down? Can you believe that last 23 second drive to tie it!? Not to mention the quadruple overtime. Good. Ness. What a win!

I’m still sitting here shaking my head. I spent the last two days reading every article and watching every locker room video and highlight reel.

Several players described the team as resilient. And that they are. To bounce back with such passion after the loss to Indiana is admirable. No one would have been surprised if that was the beginning of the end for this season. On paper they have nothing to play for-- no bowl games, rankings, or championships-- yet they play like they have everything on the line. All Penn State teams demonstrate their character but this one has something special.

O’Brien said of his decision to go for it in the fourth overtime, “I felt like it was time for somebody to win the game.”

Allen Robinson's one yard line catch against Michigan.  Photo courtesy of Tom Mairs. Allen Robinson's one yard line catch against Michigan. Photo courtesy of Tom Mairs.

I love that confidence, that willingness to risk greatness and failure in one play. Maybe he does have the magic. Maybe I’ll learn to trust him yet.

And isn’t it the truth? Isn’t it time for us to win this game? To take back our football program, our university from those who want us to lose?

Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
I'm running and I won't touch ground
Oh-no, I got to keep on moving

A magical homecoming win with time left to celebrate on the town. Wow, if you had a ticket to that game AND a ticket to the 400th win, you better consider buying a real lottery ticket!