Penn State Football: Don’t Forget Where this Season Started

Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Penn State Football has been defeated handily by the Big Ten’s upper echelon, but that doesn’t mean this season can’t be viewed as a success.

The dismantling of the Penn State offense and defense by Michigan was embarrassing. Penn State Football was outcoached, outplayed, and outclassed by a far superior opponent. The loss to Michigan–as disheartening as it may be–was expected.

The Ohio State game can be viewed in one of two ways. Penn State Football will never compete with Ohio State or roster construction has gotten Penn State close and they are ten minutes away from beating them.

Coming into the 2022 season, Penn State was projected to finish third or fourth in the Big Ten East Division. There were no mentions of Penn State being able to supplant Ohio State or Michigan atop the Big Ten. The season was viewed as a rare rebuilding year for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State sent eight players into the NFL Draft off a team that struggled to finish above .500. The team lost its longtime defensive coordinator, as well as its special teams coordinator. 2022 was supposed to be a year of transition and change.

Then Penn State goes into Purdue and comes out of Ross-Ade Stadium with a thrilling one-point victory. Penn State then follows that performance up with a legendary display of domination over Auburn on the road. That’s where the expectations for the season changed.

Instead of seeing Auburn as a team struggling to find its identity with a coach that is now fired, we instantly decided that Penn State is now a contender.

We ignored the fact that the rushing game, while explosive, essentially has the same issues as last season. The offensive play calling has become more predictable and now lacks production from the receiver position. The defense is still in a bend-don’t-break mindset, with many freshmen playing key roles.

The sky is not falling in Happy Valley. Michigan was better than Penn State in every facet of the game. The Ohio State game proves that Penn State has the talent but not the depth to hang around.

Most predictions had Penn State in the three to four-loss range. If you are looking at the schedule, that would be a disappointment now. It’s okay to be disappointed in a loss, but don’t try to blow everything up. Everyone knew Penn State would struggle against Michigan and Ohio State heading into the season.

The program is on the right trajectory with the opportunity to get the young talented players acclimated to Big Ten football. 2022 was never the year Penn State was going to contend. The future is bright for Penn State. Don’t let the present cloud your perception of the future. Penn State still has a chance to go to a New Years’ Six Bowl, which is still a big deal.

Related Story. What lies ahead for Penn State following their second loss of the season?. light