The 2020 season has been a funky one, and through five games it seemed as if Penn State football was adrift, with no real sense of purpose or direction. The offense sputtered, the defense spluttered, the special teams were in the gutter, and the flames under Franklin’s seat began to flutter.
It seemed like there was a general sense of malaise on the team, and despite some comments from Pat Freiermuth and Jahan Dotson, the senior leadership on the team was mostly mum.
Then, against Michigan, the youngsters on the team took it upon themselves to right the ship. Not vocally - the freshmen have stayed pretty quiet on the social medias of the world - but with their actions.
Parker Washington, WR - Nine receptions, 93 yards, 10.3 yards per catch
Keyvone Lee, RB - 22 carries, 134 yards, 6.1 yards per carry, one touchdown
Theo Johnson, TE - Not on the stats sheet, but utterly exerted his will in blocking
Caedan Wallace - Redshirt freshman starting at right tackle, providing a bookend on the offensive line’s most successful day of the season
Not unlike the mid-2000s, there appears to be a youth movement on the horizon. If you’ll recall, in 2004, Penn State was still struggling through the Dark Years. The defense was fine, but the offense was on the struggle bus. Then in 2005, an offensive Renaissance was achieved when a slew of youngsters - including Derrick Williams, Deon Butler, and Jordan Norwood - sparked the team to a Big Ten Championship and Orange Bowl win.
Will the yutes starting to shine in 2020 spur Penn State to an exciting 2021 season? Only time will tell, but the future does look bright.