Penn State Survives Three-Game Test & Makes it to Much Needed Week Off
The Nittany Lions were expected to lose one, maybe two games against the gauntlet of @Iowa, Michigan, and @Michigan State prior to the start of the season. Fast forward two months and Penn State has managed to navigate their way through the toughest part of their schedule. Their reward? A much needed rest.
Head Coach James Franklin even acknowledged that the Lions were banged up with what he thought weren’t “season long injuries.” Thankfully they have a week off to recoup, rejuvenate, and prepare for the final leg of this marathon they call a college football season.
So far, Penn State has remained perfect, an unblemished 8-0 start that has been headlined by a strict defense and an explosive slot receiver. Not every victory has been a blowout like their counterparts in Columbus, but this young team continues to grow confidence with every team they cross off their list.
They have won at Iowa City in primetime, they have harnessed the energy of a White Out to beat a Michigan team that just spanked No.8 Notre Dame, and most importantly, they didn’t have a big game letdown the following week against a tricky Michigan State team.
They aren’t ready to compete with the top four teams in the nation, but they are rightfully knocking on the door. More impressively, they are doing it without the superstars that critics claimed were the only reason Penn State was good: No Barkley, No Godwin, No Gesicki, No McSorley, No Joe Moorhead. This team deserves praise for being 8-0–not many people including me thought they would be in this position.
But the journey gets tougher–not easier from here on out. After the BYE week, Penn State travels to Minnesota to play a surprisingly unbeaten Minnesota team. They too deserve praise for making it to 8-0, but their schedule has been much more subtle up to this point.
Then its back home to face an Indiana team who just upset Nebraska in Lincoln and is looking at possibly winning 7 or 8 games.
The Buckeyes are after the Hoosiers. An Ohio State team that looks to be one of, if not the best in the country. The matchup in Columbus will be a fun one that’s for sure and will most likely decide the BIG East Champion.
3 of the last 4 games for the Nittany Lions won’t be walkthroughs, but you have to feel pretty good about their chances based on how the Nittany Lions got this far.