Well the first half of Penn State’s 2017 season is in the books, and suffice to say things have gone pretty, pretty, pre-tay good. The Nittany Lions are off to a 6-0 start for the first time in almost a decade and head into the second half of the season ranked #3, behind only the last two national champions, Alabama and Clemson. The offense has given us a plethora of big plays (including an all-time classic touchdown drive against Iowa), Saquon Barkley is in prime position as a Heisman frontrunner, and the special teams have been outstanding outside of one unit.
While there have been a few problematic issues that still need to be addressed to remain unbeaten, let’s keep it positive as the team stands at 6-0 heading into the bye week. What has been the most pleasant surprise for Penn State during the first half of the season?
Personally, I have to go with the overall performance of the defense. I’ll admit I was a bit concerned heading into the season, especially with the back seven. The linebackers were largely young and unproven, and the secondary was without their top cornerback after John Reid suffered a knee injury in the spring. I didn’t take too long to prove my fears unfounded.
Penn State currently stands as the nation’s best scoring defense, allowing just 9 points per contest. The defensive line is brimming with talent throughout its deep rotation, regularly finding its way into opponents’ backfield. The linebackers are one of the nation’s speediest units, flying to the ball and not allowing holes to remain open for long. The secondary has been nothing short of phenomenal, becoming more opportunistic with a Big Ten-leading nine interceptions. Once again, Brent Pry has done a tremendous job leading a defense that has wildly exceeded expectations.
So what say you, BSD reader? What has been the most pleasant surprise thus far into the 2017 season?