Like many of you, my mind went back to the early 2000s during Penn State’s dismal 35-19 loss to Maryland. As I reluctantly watched the clock mercifully tick down to all zeroes, I had a feeling that I hadn’t felt since watching games of that era as Penn State often stumbled towards defeat on a weekly basis.
It was the memory of coming away with one positive takeaway from an overall listless performance. It was the memory of Bryant Johnson lighting up a secondary, Tamba Hali with three sacks and having a particularly disruptive day, or Alan Zemaitis outperforming everyone else on the field that afternoon. It was the feeling that even though the present and immediate future may seem uncertain, at least there’s a budding star who is a certain building block as the team tries to get the right pieces back together.
During what can easily be declared as the worst loss of the James Franklin Era on Saturday, the performance of wide receiver Parker Washington was one of few positive takeaways. The true freshman has improved from week to week in the first three games of the season, culminating with his best performance thus far in a Nittany Lions uniform, catching eight passes for 70 yards and two of Penn State’s three touchdowns on the day.
Washington has doubled his catch total in each game since week one, catching two passes, including a touchdown against Indiana, four catches for 73 yards versus the Buckeyes, with his eight catches on Saturday placing second on the team behind Jahan Dotson.
Washington has already shown tremendous promise off the bat, and could be on his way to becoming one of the Big Ten’s top receivers over time. For now, he’s a rare bright spot on a Penn State team still desperately seeking its first victory of the season.