Over at ESPN, Josh Moyer dives into the three factors that have made Penn State the best fourth-quarter team in the country this season.
Many fans expect the Lions to come back even stronger in 2017, but that might not be the case if James Franklin can’t repeat this late-game magic. Penn State’s big plays have had an even bigger impact on deciding games than they’re supposed to because of how many of them happen with the game on the line. The good news is that there are some indications that the point distribution is due to more than luck. For example, strength coach Dwight Galt experienced similar success in fourth-quarter scoring margin during his time at Vanderbilt.
Dustin Hockensmith has a feature on Evan Schwan that details his battles with injuries and the depth chart in his quest to become a starting defensive end at Penn State.
"As parents and coaches, our hearts break for kids and we don't want them to go through stuff like that. The truth is, it can help," [high school coach Glen] McNamee said. "No question, that experience helped him at Penn State. Had it have gone clean in high school, if he hadn't gotten hurt early, if he had started early, if he had been recruited early, who knows. That experience helped him."
Schwan reminds me of Carl Nassib in that he went from a guy recruited with very little fanfare to a key part of the Penn State offense. The redshirt senior hasn’t had quite the dominant impact that propelled Nassib to the NFL last year, but he’s been productive in his own right and it’s fitting that Nassib served as a mentor for him.
The Centre Daily Times’s John McGonigal wrote about the zero-to-hero breakout campaign of Mike Gesicki.
After dropping five passes in 2015, Gesicki has become an important part of the Penn State offense due to his size and ability to catch the ball in traffic. I figured he would rebound somewhat from last year’s disastrous season, but this kind of success for the junior was hard to foresee.
Two Penn State recruits, defensive ends Damion Barber and Micah Parsons, were highlighted on the Pennsylvania Football Writers All-State team. Parsons is only a junior this year and is the top-rated prospect in the Lions’ 2018 class.
Former Penn State wrestler James Vollrath passed away on Friday due to Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Vollrath was 72-24 in his career and a member of four straight national championship teams. He was just 26 years old.
Quick hits: Taniya Page scored 30 points to lead Penn State Women’s Basketball to a 70-65 win over American... Christian McCaffrey has joined Leonard Fournette as another star tailback to opt out of his school’s bowl game in order to better prepare for the NFL draft... Minnesota’s bowl boycott is over, but head coach Tracy Claeys continues to support the cause, saying it was all about due process... Former Golden Gophers head coach Jerry Kill signed a three-year deal to become offensive coordinator at Rutgers.