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Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual - USC v Penn State

Era vs Era: Semi-Final #1

Dis gon be good

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The playoffs are here! The first round of the Era vs Era stage is set, and it should be a doozy.

For those of you unaware, we here at BSD have been voting on the best offensive and defensive units from four distinct eras:

  • Late Paterno Era (2005-2009)
  • Transition Era (2010-2014)
  • Early Franklin Era (2015-2019)
  • Current Era (2020-2023)

In each era, voters were tasked with deciding the best offense and defense from each era, and once those were decided, they were combined into the best possible team from each era.

All of the preliminary voting is done, and by random draw, the Late Paterno Era is set to face off against the Early Franklin Era in Semi-Final #1 of the Era vs Era playoffs!

Let’s meet our contenders!

Late Paterno Era

Offense - 2008

We’re off with a bang! The 2008 offense was perhaps the most dynamic that the Lions had had since at least the late 90s, if not 1994. Daryll Clark was your quarterback, and led the team to a 448.9 yards per game (YPG) and 38.9 points per game (PPG), which were good for #14 and #11 nationally. The offensive line was stacked, with Rimington Trophy winner A.Q. Shipley leading the way, alongside Gerald Cadogan, Rich Ohrnberger, and Stefen Wisniewski. The trio of Deon Butler, Derrick Williams, and Jordan Norwood made an excellent stable of receivers, and Evan Royster provided some quality ball-running skills.

Defense - 2005

The defense of this era does not lack for star power either, as it features Butkus + Bednarik Award winner Paul Posluszny, as well as B1G Defensive Lineman of the Year Tamba Hali. Jay Alford helped up front, while Dan Connor joined Poz in the LB corps. The back end featured Alan Zemaitis, Anwar Phillips and Calvin Lowry, who helped the Lions in allowing just 306.5 YPG (17th nationally) and 16.5 PPG (11th nationally).

For those keeping score at home, the Late Paterno Era team outscored their opponents by 22.4 PPG, and outgained their opponents by 142.4 YPG. That’s, um, good?

Early Franklin Era

Offense - 2017

Not so fast, my friends! The 2017 offense again could claim the title as most dynamic since at least 1994, and out of all the voting was the unit with the highest vote total. Year 2 under Joe Moorhead had Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley vibing, leading Penn State to 460.3 YPG and 41.1 PPG, 19th and 7th nationally. The offensive line was rounding back into form following the sanctions, with Ryan Bates, Steven Gonzalez and Connor McGovern paving the way up front. The receiving group featured DaeSean Hamilton, Juwan Johnson, and Mike Gesicki on the only offensive unit to register in the top 10 in either statistical category since at least 2005.

Defense - 2019

Defense is simply what Penn State does, as the 2019 group kept up the tradition. Led by Micah Parsons, the group brought a modern flair to the football field. Shaka Toney and Yetur Gross-Matos led the way up front, while Cam Brown joined Parsons in the linebacking corps. On the back end, Tariq Castro-Fields and John Reid bookended the secondary, and the defense locked up a #7 ranking in PPG at just 14.1, to go along with a #24 ranking in YPG at 330.2.

The Early Franklin Era team outgained their opponents by 130.1 YPG, and outscored their opponents by 27 PPG.

The Late Paterno Era team does a better job of ball control and churns out a few more yards, but the quick-strike nature of the Early Franklin Era team means that yardage doesn’t count for quite as much when a TD could be lurking on any given play.

There you have it folks. Two excellent teams enter the arena, but only one can emerge victorious. Cast your vote below, and the winner will advance to the Era vs Era championship game!


Which team wins the Era vs Era Semi-Final #1?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Late Paterno Era (2008 Offense + 2005 Defense)
    (314 votes)
  • 42%
    Early Franklin Era (2017 Offense + 2019 Defense)
    (229 votes)
543 votes total Vote Now

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