Believe it or not, the 2012 Penn State football season is over. It was certainly a special season that made a lot of college football “experts” not look so smart. This Penn State team is made up of very unique young men and an outstanding coaching staff. As a student, I wouldn’t rather have anyone else represent my university than these players and coaches. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. So for the last time in 2012, here are my notes from Nittanyville:
- First and foremost, I want to thank the seniors. Countless people have already done so, but this is my turn. These seniors embody what Penn State is all about and I’m sure they will continue to represent Penn State the right way in the future. All 31 seniors contributed to the team in one way or another and they helped hold this program together in an extremely difficult time.
- Just like the Indiana game, we all knew that Thanksgiving break would affect the student attendance. And just like the Indiana game, the student section got off to a slow start. But it filled up nicely throughout the game and eventually looked okay considering it was a game during break.
- I love seeing recruits interact with each other and with fans. Specifically, the 2013 Penn State commits. This class is one of the most important in Penn State football history and these guys are very close. Adam Breneman, Christian Hackenberg, Garrett Sickels and Brendan Mahon are the four big-time commits who have been true to Penn State since the day they committed. They’re almost always together on the sidelines during pregame and they love to talk to other recruits, prospects, media and others. Hackenberg seems to always have a smile on his face. Penn State fans should be excited for these guys to be on campus soon.
- The “Thank You Seniors” card stunt was pretty cool. At first, I didn’t think it was going to work because of some sections being empty and that some students just wouldn’t want to cooperate for whatever reason. But it looked pretty good and it was definitely a nice gesture.
- I’m really glad that they put 2012 up on the east facade. Even though this team didn’t go undefeated or win a championship, its importance cannot be stressed enough. These players stayed when they easily could have left and they fought through so much to prove a lot of people wrong. That’s as great of an accomplishment, if not better, than any bowl game or any postseason championship.
- I had mixed feelings about the 42 on the helmets. I’m as big a Michael Mauti fan as anyone, but yesterday was about all the seniors. Maybe a ’12 on the helmets would’ve been better.
- In another Mauti tribute, I loved that Gerald Hodges wore number 42 to honor his fellow linebacker. It was tough to find Hodges on the field at times, but like usual, he was making his customary big plays.
- Was that Jordan Hill or Haloti Ngata out there? The senior defensive tackle left everything he had out on the field in his last collegiate game and he was dominant. Keep in mind that Wisconsin’s offensive lines are year in and year out one of the best in the country. Hill finished with 12 tackles and two sacks, with eight tackles and three tackles for loss coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.
- When Kyle French’s overtime field goal attempt sailed wide left, overwhelming feelings of joy and jubilation took over me. This was the ending to the season that this team deserved. Just like the past year, this team fought back when they were down and showed everyone what they’re made of.
It’s hard to believe that guys such as Michael Mauti, Matt McGloin, Gerald Hodges, Jordan Hill and others won’t be suiting up for Penn State again. I’ve had the privilege of watching these seniors play for three years and they have all developed into high-caliber individuals on and off the field. Penn State will once again have to deal with plenty of offseason speculation. Lots of rumors will surface regarding current players being recruited by other schools, Bill O’Brien’s future and other things. But no matter what happens in the future, this 2012 team will forever be remembered in Penn State history. Their dedication to Penn State, the character they’ve shown and the class in which they’ve handled all the adversity cannot and will not ever be forgotten. Thanks to everyone who’s followed along throughout the season. I already can’t wait for August 31 for the 2013 season opener against Syracuse.
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