2020 has been a pretty wild season, and to me shows that this team actually has a lot more mental endurance than I originally gave them credit for.
Think about it. An actual global pandemic. Extensive testing, isolation, minimal practices or facetime with coaches and other teammates. Teammates opting out of the season. The season being canceled, then uncanceled. An 0-5 start, the worst in Penn State history. A head coach struggling with family separation, and no sign that this ultimately meaningless season had anything left to play for.
What does the team do?
They go ahead and rally around each other.
Play by play, game by game, you can see the team is jelling. Blocking seems better, competitors at the same position are high fiving each other, smiles on the sidelines.
This rally is best exemplified by two sideline reactions from the game against Michigan State.
First, after Jahan Dotson returned a punt 81 yards to the house, the entire team mobbed him on the sideline. He got lifted up on shoulders, Coach Franklin ran over to congratulate him, his teammates all wanted to get in on the action and just enjoy themselves.
Second, a Payton Thorne pass got thrown away on a broken play, and Amin Vanover caught the errant pass one-handed, followed by everyone around him losing their minds.
Sure, winning helps, but when everything seemed bleakest, the team didn’t fold, but found strength in each other, and to that I tip my cap.
It ends with I love you.