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Penn State Hands Maryland Its First Loss

PSU Hands Terrapins First Season Loss

This weekend was homecoming weekend for the Penn State Nittany Lions. Many alums returned to State College Friday, if not Thursday evening, to participate in the festivities. This year’s homecoming game featured a match-up between the Nittany Lions and then-undefeated University of Maryland Terrapins. Going into the game, several stories and analysis pieces were drafted on how Penn State would perform, as well as the importance of this particular game. Many of the stories were taking a look into the longevity of Coach James Franklin’s role with the Penn State Football program. Athletic Director Sandy Barbour, on Thursday October 7, 2016, stated that “there was no doubt in [her] mind that [Coach Franklin] is going to be [Penn State’s] football coach long term”.

Often times the pressure put onto athletic programs come from alums. If there was any weekend to prove the team’s winning and a coach’s winning abilities, it’s homecoming weekend. The Nittany Lions, lead by quarterback Trace McSorley did not disappoint, coming up with a 38-14 win over the Terps. Penn State’s offense totaled 524 yards against Maryland; sophomore running back Saquon Barkley rushed for 202 of those yards with a career high of 31 carries. Although Barkley’s ability is nationally known, the emergence of McSorley should be reassuring for Nittany Lions fans. McSorley totaled 233 yards, 81 of which were rushing. But what cannot be seen on the stat sheets is how McSorley gained those rushing yards. Simply put: McSorley can run and scramble. Although scrambling may create anxiety for some viewing fans, his confidence and knowledge of when to slide versus continuing his yardage gain have a wait of putting such fans at ease.

McSorley’s Running Game

McSorley is confident in his running ability, which creates another threat for the opposing teams. It is simply impressive how he has been able to adapt to being the commander of the offense after the Nittany Lions were so accustomed to their former leader in Christian Hackenberg. McSorley’s ability to both run and pass the ball efficiently allowed to Nittany Lions to hand deliver the Terrapins their first loss of the season, and increasing the Lions’ Big Ten conference record to 2-1 as oppose to the Terrapins’ 1-1.

Upcoming: Ohio State

The Nittany Lions have two weeks to prepare for, arguably, the most important game of their season against The Ohio State Buckeyes. Each season is a step in the direction of regaining national coverage in disconnect of the suffered sanctions. A win against Ohio State would not only be an upset but also a strong recruitment point. If the Lions are going to pull off the upset against the Buckeyes, the Nittany Lions’ passing game is going to have to be strong; the Buckeyes have allowed about 250 more passing than rushing yards this season. However, they have also only allowed 54 points to be scored against them as well. The Nittany Lions head into their bye week before hosting the Ohio State Buckeyes at primetime on October 22, 2016.

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