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Twitter Reacts To Penn State’s Citrus Bowl Loss Against Kentucky

Penn State Twitter was a less than happy bunch during Tuesday afternoon’s Citrus Bowl

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Kentucky vs Penn State Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 Penn State Nittany Lions football season has come to an end. A season that was filled with maddening drops, disastrous special teams, questionable coaching decisions, and zero wins over ranked opponents came to an end on Tuesday afternoon in Orlando. Penn State’s 27-24 Citrus Bowl loss against no. 14 Kentucky featured each of the things mentioned above, leading to the Nittany Lions finishing their 2018 season with a 9-4 record.

A strong argument can be made that the main reason the Nittany Lions lost on Tuesday was due to special teams blunders. A failed fake punt attempt that gave Kentucky great field position leading to a Wildcat field goal and a Lynn Bowden punt return touchdown accounted for Kentucky’s 10 first half points. Jake Pinegar missed a pair of field goals, with one being doomed by a poor snap and the other being partially blocked, and Rafael Checa sent a kickoff out of bounds.

Starting with the first kickoff of the season special teams were a disaster from the get go for Penn State in 2018. This has led to many fans complaining about the special teams.

Fans were not exactly happy about the fake punt call, either.

Would it have really been a Penn State game without drops from the wide receivers? Of course not! DeAndre Thompkins was bitten by the dropsies bug yet again on Tuesday, including one that may have been a touchdown.

Maybe that Breneman guy would have some interest in coaching tight ends if my desired scenario of Limegrover being relieved of his duties and Tyler Bowen moving to offensive line coach comes to fruition? Just kidding. Adam has bigger and better contributions to make to the world than being a football coach.

There were some positives from the Citrus Bowl, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Outside of consecutive touchdown drives in the third quarter, the Nittany Lion defense was borderline dominant on Tuesday afternoon and held Kentucky to less than 300 yards of total offense.

Leading the way for the defense, as he had done so often his freshman year, was linebacker Micah Parsons. Parsons had a game high 13 tackles, he forced a fumble, and he blew up countless plays.

Tuesday was also another banner day for Sean Spencer as the Wild Dogs. As they had done time and time again throughout the season, the Nittany Lion defensive linemen were a terror to block.

Since Kentucky’s offense does not feature much of the forward pass Penn State’s secondary was not tested much in the Citrus Bowl. However, that did not stop Tariq Castro-Fields and Garrett Taylor from having strong games in run support.

Had Penn State won the game, the play of TCF and Taylor would have been two major reasons why.

True freshman tight end Pat Freirmuth finished off his strong rookie campaign with another solid showing. The Massachusetts native hauled in a touchdown, made a key reception in the fourth quarter, and threw a block that sprung Miles Sanders for a first down on a 3rd-and-10 late in the game.

When it comes to bright spots from the game, we have saved the best for last. As everyone reading this knows the Citrus Bowl was Trace McSorley’s final game at Penn State. In his swan song, the fifth year senior signal caller overcame a broken foot to nearly rally the Nittany Lions from a 27-7 fourth quarter deficit. With his performance on Tuesday, McSorley solidified his spot on Penn State’s Mount Rushmore.

The love for Trace started even before the game did.

Things did not always go smoothly for Trace against Kentucky’s stellar defense. He missed Penn State’s first drive of the second half after breaking his foot late in the first half, but this did not stop him from nearly rallying the Nittany Lions to victory. In fact, it did nothing but add to the legend of McSorley.

McSorley took the game over in the fourth quarter as the Nittany Lions outscored Kentucky 17-0 in the game’s final frame. He finished the game with 246 yards passing and a pair of scores, as well as a team leading 75 rushing yards and a touchdown. But, in the end, the Nittany Lions still came up just short.

Even in defeat, Trace drew praise from both fans and former teammates on Twitter after the game.

Trace’s heroics culminated in Penn State facing 4th-and-7 from the Kentucky 14-yard line with 4:12 remaining in the game. With the Nittany Lions trailing 27-21 James Franklin, who had all three timeouts remaining, was then faced with a decision. He could attempt a field goal and risk not getting the ball back, or put the ball in Trace’s hands and go for it. The correct decision, largely due to the amount of time remaining in the game and the deficit, would have been to go for it. However, Franklin chose to trot Pinegar out there for a field goal attempt that was successful.

Franklin’s decision backfired on him. By the time Penn State got the ball back there was just :01 second remaining in the game. Coach’s decision was then widely criticized by fans and media members alike.

The ending of the Citrus Bowl was a tough pill to swallow and will leave a sour taste in the mouth of Penn State fans, players, and coaches throughout the offseason.