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MMQB: Is Winning Contagious?

The first win is always the hardest.

Penn State v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

At long last, Penn State Football has won a game in 2020. It took far longer than anyone could have envisioned. Even in nightmare scenarios, no one saw the first 0-5 start in program history and a losing season in a year when the team started at #7 in the polls with full expectations of making a playoff push.

But it all happened. One by one, the losses piled up as the Nittany Lions desperately sought to right the ship. That happened on Saturday, as Penn State earned its first victory of the season, against the always-despised Michigan Wolverines.

They did it by playing smart, sound football for 60 minutes. They ran the ball well. They didn’t turn the ball over. They converted third downs while preventing Michigan from doing so. They responded to a fourth quarter touchdown by Michigan with a clock-churning drive that put them back up by two possessions. They kept their heads after some unlucky bounces. They also did all of this with many young and inexperienced players in outsized roles than you would have expected at this juncture.

It was the type of win with many positive takeaways - one where the team can look back, take a deep breathe, and say “We got this.”

Now that Penn State finally put one in the win column, are more set to follow?

The Nittany Lions have three winnable games to close out the season. Penn State closes out the regular season with Rutgers and Michigan State, before facing a yet-to-be-determined crossover opponent from the Big Ten West. While Penn State will need to show up and play well to win any of its remaining games, the Nittany Lions absolutely have the ability to come out on top.

So what say you, BSD reader? Will the Michigan win be contagious, or are you concerned the same mishaps will continue to haunt this team for the remainder of the season?