Penn State’s Quiet Rise to the Top
On Monday morning I was truly confused as to why the line for Dunkin’ Donuts on College Avenue was out the door. Mid-term exams have already passed and it was close to noon, so breakfast (yes, even for college students) had already been consumed. I kept walking a few feet ahead, and then I realized why the line looked like one for an exclusive night club. The Monday after a Nittany Lion Football win, Dunkin’ Donuts offers a free medium iced or hot coffee.
I had known that Penn State had won against the Purdue Boilermakers, but quite honestly, this particular win was quieted by the upsets and close games from that weekend. The Texas Longhorns had upset then-undefeated Baylor for the second year in a row, then-undefeated West Virginia lost to Oklahoma State and Northwestern almost added insult to injury against the Ohio State Buckeyes. It’s not to be ignored that the Nittany Lions pummeled the Boilermakers with both the passing and running game. Penn State totaled 511 yards with zero turnovers in comparison to Purdue’s four turnovers.
After the win against Purdue, Penn State’s ranking rose twelve spots in the College Football Playoff Rankings; now ranking 12th in the nation. Was the win against Purdue that strong or were there so many upsets that allowed Penn State to rise? The question now is how will Penn State perform against an unranked opponent?
Next Opponent: Iowa
The Nittany Lions play the Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday in what appears to be an unofficial white out game proclaimed by head coach James Franklin. Although the Lions may pride themselves on their home field advantage, the possibility of allowing such relatively quick success has the potential to initiate the process of metamorphosis. Their confidence has the potential of becoming ego. However, the humility that both the players and coaches have exuded this year quiets the skepticism. The team has remained loyal and supportive of one another, and has shown that they truly believe in the system in which they’re playing.
When comparing the Nittany Lions and the Hawkeyes on paper, both teams are rather similar. There is not much difference in the numbers produced by the offense, other than passing yards (Penn State holds the advantage by about 400 yards). However, Penn State has recorded twelve turnovers this season as compared to Iowa’s five. To put this statistic into perspective, one third (four) of those occurred against the University of Pittsburgh Panthers.
Penn State’s rebirth is befitting of the current members of its team. Quiet, impactful yet their presence cannot be denied or ignored. Because as Frank Lucas so eloquently stated, “the loudest one in the room, is the weakest one in the room”.