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Era vs Era: 2005-2009 Offense

This should be good

NCAA Football - South Florida vs Penn State - September 3, 2005 Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

We’re deep into the off-season, so I thought a series of posts to determine which era of the last 20 years was the mightiest might be fun. Here’s the premise:

  • We’ll compare four eras: 2005-09, 2010-14, 2015-19, 2020-23
  • In each era, we’ll compare two sides of the ball: offense and defense
  • We’ll compare things like stats, star players, and how the teams did each year
  • You, the reader will then decide what the best offense and defense was from each era
  • Once we have our “best of” teams for each era, we’ll do a 4-team playoff and you will again vote on the winner
  • Finally, the two winners of the semifinals will play again in the finals to determine the best era for Penn State football in the last 20 years

Get it? Got it? Good.

We’ll start the series by looking at the offenses from the 2005 to 2009 era, or what I like to call the Late Paterno Era. This era is highlighted by a resurgence from the Dark Years, and a couple potential national championship-caliber teams. This is likely also when Paterno should have retired, but alas.

For now, take a stroll down memory lane, and see how the five offenses Penn State trotted out from 2005 to 2009 compare in some key stats, star personnel, and afterward be sure to vote in the poll. The results of that poll will determine the final results of this era’s offense!


  • Yards per Game (YPG) - 421.5 (33rd nationally)
  • Points per Game (PPG) - 34.4 (13th nationally)
  • All-Americans - 0
  • All-Big Tens - 2
  • Players of the Year - 1

The 2005 offense will forever be remembered for Big Ten Player of the Year quarterback Michael Robinson, and the freshman receivers Derrick Williams, Deon Butler, and Jordan Norwood who sparked a resurgence following the Dark Years. Led by a mobile QB who had as much clutchness as you could want, the Lions charged to an 11-1 season, Big Ten Championship, Orange Bowl win over ACC Champ Florida State, and a final ranking of #3 in the country.


  • YPG - 349.9 (52nd nationally)
  • PPG - 22.3 (72nd nationally)
  • All-Americans - 1
  • All-Big Tens - 3
  • Players of the Year - 0

2006 was a bit of a fall from grace, as the offense lost its chief personality in MRob. Anthony Morelli took over at quarterback, but it was All-American offensive tackle Levi Brown who provided the biggest star power. He led the way for Tony Hunt the Ball Carrier, and the team finished with a 9-4 record, Outback Bowl win over Tennessee, and a #24 ranking.


  • YPG - 400.1 (55th nationally)
  • PPG - 30.3 (46th nationally)
  • All-Americans - 0
  • All-Big Tens - 3
  • Players of the Year - 0

2007 saw a bit of a step up in points production, though the corresponding increase in yardage didn’t move the needle in the national rankings (one of those years, I guess). Once again, star power was a bit lacking on the offensive side of the ball, as A.Q. Shipley, Rich Ohrnberger and Stefen Wisniewski led the way - and I mean no offense to offensive linemen (heh), but if three of the big uglies are the face of your program, might be one of those years for radio. Regardless, the team played well, securing a 9-4 record, Alamo Bowl win over TAMU, though they finished unranked in the final AP standings (did get #24 in the Coaches Poll though!).


  • YPG - 448.9 (14th nationally)
  • PPG - 38.9 (11th nationally)
  • All-Americans - 3
  • All-Big Tens - 9
  • Players of the Year - 1

2008 had a changing of the guard at quarterback, with Daryll Clark taking over. And what a takeover it was. The team jumped into the top 20 in production, and had more All-Big Ten players than the previous 3 years combined. The big guys up front led the way with Gerald Cadogan, Rich Ohrnberger, and Stefen Wisniewski all garnering national accolades, but it was Rimington Trophy winner A.Q. Shipley who anchored the line. Behind a dominant line, the Lions played to an 11-2 record, Big Ten Championship, and Rose Bowl appearance, though a loss there dropped them to #8 in the country. Were it not for an inexplicable loss to Iowa, Penn State likely would have contended for a national championship.


  • YPG - 406.9 (37th nationally)
  • PPG - 28.7 (52nd nationally)
  • All-Americans - 2
  • All-Big Tens - 4
  • Players of the Year - 0

Like 2006, 2009 was a bit of a step back, though the biggest drop was in points per game. Daryll Clark was back and looking to put a feather in his cap, though most of the big guys up front had moved on. Still, players like Evan Royster and Dennis Landolt kept the offense afloat. On the year, Penn State played to another 11-2 record, Capital One Bowl win over LSU, and a #9 ranking nationally.

The stats have been laid bare, you’ve fondly recalled some names and details of these teams, but now you have to vote! Pick which of the offenses from this era you think is the best. The winner will pair up with the best defense from the same era and take on the other eras in a winner-take-all playoff!


Which year had the best offense in the Late Paterno Era?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    (200 votes)
  • 1%
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 57%
    (292 votes)
  • 1%
    (7 votes)
505 votes total Vote Now