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Penn State’s Emotional Upset


The upset of the 2016 NCAA football season thus far: Penn State defeats the then-ranked No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes. This game was selected not only to be the white-out game, but also played at primetime: also known as the perfect stage for an upset.


Imagine a storied collegiate football program that has not been ranked since 2012, bruised and scarred with sanctions and penalties, and constant questioning of the longevity of the head coach. That team plays in the largest stadium, holding 107,000, with iconic local limestone that welcomes the team to its hallowed ground each and every game day. Now imagine a different team, the opposing team, that has the swagger of Denzel Washington’s character—Frank Lucas–in American Gangster: smooth, intelligent, business minded, and seemingly untouchable.

Penn State and Ohio State seemed to be two teams essentially leading two different paths: Ohio State to claim another national championship, and Penn State to revive its program and restore the prestige of its football program. Although it is quite possible that both teams remain on their respected paths after Saturday’s game, it is quite clear that the Nittany Lions of Penn State are definitely reawakening their program.


On paper, if someone were to look at the statistics sheet for Saturday’s game, they’d probably wonder how Penn State was even able to pull off such a win. Ohio State dominated in all aspects of stats: totally 413 yards as opposed to Penn State’s 276, tallying 19 first downs against Penn State’s 13 and maintaining possession of the ball for essentially 15 minutes more than the Nittany Lions. However, often times, it’s that one factor that seems to slip through the stat sheets that makes all the difference.

Although not a great start for the offense, the first quarter reflected a minor accomplishment for the Nittany Lions as they were able to prevent the Buckeyes from scoring entirely. However, the Buckeyes were able to pick up steam during the second and third quarters, although six of the twelve points scored during the second quarter were results of field goals; a testament to the emerging strength of Penn State’s defense.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the scene was a familiar one. After the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, Penn State fans began to head towards their cars to prevent from witnessing yet another heartbreaking loss; instead, they prevented themselves from witnessing one of the greatest come backs of the school’s history. After having possession of the ball for roughly five minutes, Ohio State was forced to go for a field goal. In pure motion picture magic, Penn State’s Grant Haley blocked the kick and ran for 60 yards putting the Nittany Lions ahead of the Buckeyes with 4:27 left in the game. With great poise and 1:02 left in the game, Ohio State’s veteran quarterback J.T. Barrett was sacked by Evan Schwan and Kevin Givens to seal the Nittany Lions’ upset.


The Nittany Lions will travel to West Lafayette, Indiana to take on the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday October 29, 2016 at noon. Fans will be looking to this game to begin their determinations if the upset was just merely a short glimmer or an ember that will steadily grow into a strong flame.

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