On January 1st, 2010, Penn State had just completed its second double-digit win season in as many years. The feat had last been accomplished in 1993-94*, when the Nittany Lions first joined the Big Ten.
The 90s, in their entirety, was the last time anyone thought of Penn State as a true power, having won or competed for championships every single year, excepting the few they still played as an independent. In those years, they “only” competed for national championships. Ever since then, the Nittany Lion program has hovered around an area of recognition due to name brand, some competitiveness every so often, and one of the worst stretches in the history of the program.
Fast-forward to 2017. What was seen as an pipe dream —a conference championship and Rose Bowl berth following a 2-2 start, has now become a reality. Penn State is ready to reclaim their former glory, prepared to compete with the big boys in the conference year in and year out. This game was a testament to their determination.
Penn State wasted no time asserting its will on Washington offensively, opening up a two touchdown lead they would hover around for most of the game. Saquon Barkley had the highlight plays we’ve come to expect of him, and Trace McSorley found just about everyone in a Penn State uniform to power an unstoppable offense that made the vaunted Washington defense look clueless at times.
On the other side of the ball, the Nittany Lions did a remarkable job of containing Jake Browning for most of the game. The Huskies could not get much on offense, relying chunk plays in order to keep pace.
Give Washington their due, though. They forced enough turnovers to make this game interesting, all of them coming on the Huskies side of the ball. Every time it looked like Penn State would blow the game open, Washington made a play. In the end, though, they couldn’t muster enough offense to erase the double-digit hole they found themselves in from the start.
Some will think about what could have been. what if that punt doesnt get blocked. what if Marcus Allen doesn’t commit that penalty. I will spend my time thinkig about what is. Penn State has placed itseld in position to compete for years to come.
Saquon Barkley will go, or he’ll stay. Only he and those close to him know for sure. The defense will lose a ton of production. The offense will too. But there is one thing that will not change. This team, the one that competed in every single game, they’re here to stay.
The Blue and White game will be held on April 21st in 2018. That will be the next time we will see our Nittany Lions in play. It’s officially the offseason. 15-0 or GTFO.
*Starting in 2006, it became a lot easier to win 10 games as the 12-game regular season became a constant for everyone.