clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

MMQB: Which Penn State Play Would You Change?

We'll let you chime in, too.

It was supposed to be his kingdom.
It was supposed to be his kingdom.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

This morning, we posted our thoughts on which plays in Penn State history we would go back and change if we could. But why should we have all the fun? Here's your chance to show off your Penn State knowledge and find that one play that forever changed the course of Penn State history.

Personally, my following of Penn State only dates back to 2010, so I don't have much of a bank of plays to choose from. There is one that I will never forget, though.

Let me paint the picture for you. A young quarterback who had helped guide the Nittany Lions to a 3-3 start, including a game against one of the country's true powerhouses. The young quarterback headed into game number seven of the season, looking to make his presence felt. He did just that, completing his first nine passes. The young man was scorching hot. Other players gave him space on the bench as if he were a pitcher throwing a perfect game. The already bright future was beginning to look brighter and brighter for the young phenom. This was what he was used to. The former four star recruit knew what it was like to truly be the man, thanks to his high school career. He looked to the away fan section, to the screaming fans. He imagined his poster along the end zone wall back in State College. He smiled. Just then, he heard a coach call for the punt team. He instinctively grabbed his helmet and snapped it into place. "Let's make some history," he thought to himself as the officials reset the ball for the offense. The young quarterback got the play call and jogged onto the field. He confidently relayed the call to his huddle and broke it with confidence. He gave his center an extra pat on the back as a thanks for the protection he'd had so far. The young quarterback couldn't help but feel like he was on top of the world. He calmly surveyed the defense, and found his attack point. "All I need is a few seconds," he thought to himself. He called out the cadences. He stared the middle linebacker in the eyes, as if to send a message that he would not be beaten on this day. He called for the ball, and in an instant, he was dropping back, just waiting for the hole to open for yet another completion. He searched the field, looking for his opening. When suddenly, there was darkness.

The young quarterback never again played at the level he showed he was capable of during those first seven games. He re-entered games here and there, but was visibly shaken by the bone-crushing sack he had taken in the game that seemed like it would be a happy memory, rather than a painful one. The same smooth, confident leader never again did appear on that field, at least not in the form of the young quarterback. When he did get his chances, he botched them, already having been shaken to his very core. It wasn't supposed to end this way for the young quarterback, and in truth, it didn't. He decided that a change of scenery may be good for him, traveling up and down the country until settling in at one of his home-state schools. Things didn't go any better there, for he could no longer step up to the line without focusing on avoiding that sack that changed everything. The young quarterback was never the same, no matter who coached him up. It was a sad reality for the boy. And yet, one that so many others have faced before him. But while his dreams may have changed from "NFL Draft" to "Just One More Year of College", he still counted himself lucky. The young quarterback still recognized that he had the chance to play for two of the most historic college football programs in the world, and in front of his friends and family at home. The young quarterback still rests easily each night.

Yet, his mind still wanders back to that fateful day from time to time. He wonders what things would have been like if he had been able to sidestep the defender, or if the lineman had been able to keep him blocked. He wonders what things would have been like if he had ever been able to regain his confidence. He wonder what things would have been like if he had called for a run play instead of a pass play. He always wonders, but knows that it is futile in the end. Such is the curse of wishing you could change the past. Everything is easy in hindsight, but no one can go back and change those events.

And yet, I will always continue to wonder just how the career of Rob Bolden could have played out.