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Dreaming Of New Year’s: Penn State 66, Maryland 3

The game was 52-3 at the end of the third quarter.

Penn State v Maryland Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

For three straight weeks, this section is going to be short and sweet. We all knew that the last three games of the season would be a cakewalk for the Nittany Lions. Two weeks ago, Penn State faced a team that had won three Big Ten games in two seasons. Last week, the Nittany Lions faced a team whose coach was on borrowed time (and has now been fired). This week, they faced a team that was a shell of its preseason self, losing several players to injury for the season, most importantly, their top two quarterbacks.

Any hope of the Maryland Terrapins making a game of it today relied on how many mistakes Penn State would make to make it easier the Terps to score. Muffed kicks on back to back games gave the Nittany Lions’ opponent opportunities to score early. An absolute meltdown last week made a lopsided game look competitive. This week, however, none of the issues that gave those teams hope were present in this game, and we saw the type of domination that hadn’t been seen since October.

It all started with a methodical drive from the Penn State nine-yard line, one where Saquon Barkley tried make nothing out of something and succeeded, but it wouldn’t make a difference in the end. The Nittany Lions drove the ball down the field, and kept marching down the field for the rest of the game. Credit Maryland for going for it on fourth down plenty of times in the game where he could have either punted or gone for field goals, which actually made the game look much worse as a result.

There really isn’t much else left to say. Penn State dominated from start to finish, Trace McSorley threw for touchdowns and rushed for touchdowns, Mike Gesicki grabbed two of those throws, and Tommy Stevens played for a quarter and a half. In other news, Michal Menet saw plenty of time today as well.

The what ifs of the season will be discussed ad nauseam for weeks, months, even years to come. What doesn’t change, however, is that for the first time since 1986-87*, Penn State will be headed to a New Year’s Six bowl in back to back years. And for the firs time since 2008-09, the Nittany Lions will have back-to-back 10-win seasons. The Lions are back.

Looking Ahead

Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl, or Cotton Bowl. We’ll find out in a week.