More playoffs! The first semifinal went down earlier this week, and we’re onto the second semifinal.
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 Current Era is set to face off against the Transition Era in Semi-Final #2 of the Era vs Era playoffs!
Let’s meet our contenders!
Offense - 2023
The 2023 offense is, of course, an unknown, as the season has yet to be played. But we can make some extrapolations based on the 2022 season, plus personnel changes. And we’ll get to the big one right away - Drew Allar will be the starting quarterback come September. The former 5-star recruit has perhaps the best combination of size and arm talent any Penn State quarterback has had since Darryl Clark, and maybe even as far back as Kerry Collins. He’s supported by the dynamite rushing combination of Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen, who both individually surpassed the previous record of touchdowns for a freshman running back. The receivers include KeAndre Lambert-Smith, transfer Dante Cephas, and Theo Johnson. Lastly, the offensive line is anchored by future first-round pick Olu Fashanu, and features stout interior play from Landon Tengwall and Sal Wormley. Finally, given that this will be Year 3 under Mike Yurcich, it won’t shock me in the slightest if the 2023 offense outperforms the 2022 offense, which rattled off 433.6 yards per game (YPG) and 35.8 points per game (PPG), which were good for #34 and #20 nationally.
Defense - 2023
Similarly, the defense is an unknown, but we can see how the personnel will look. Up front, Adisa Isaac, Chop Robinson, and Dani Dennis-Sutton should make for one of the more formidable DE rooms the Lions have had under Franklin, and should allow the DTs to grow into their roles. The LBs will feature Abdul Carter and Curtis Jacobs, which is one of the most athletic combos at LB that Penn State has had. The back end features Kalen King, Johnny Dixon, and Keaton Ellis on a secondary that has been lights out for several years. Lastly, this is Year 2 under Manny Diaz, meaning players will be even more comfortable in the system than they were in 2022, when the defense allowed 317.9 YPG (16th nationally) and 18 PPG (9th nationally).
For those prognosticating at home, the Current Era team hopes to be better than the 2022 unit, which outscored their opponents by 17.8 PPG, and outgained their opponents by 115.7 YPG.
Offense - 2012
The 2012 offense was revamped by Bill O’Brien to a pro-style setup, and featured Matt McGloin slinging the ball to receiver of the year Allen Robinson and Matt Lehman at tight end, with Bill Belton toting the rock. Donovan Smith held down the fort at left tackle, with Matt Stankiewitch at center and John Urschel at right guard. The offense averaged 417.5 YPG and 29.1 PPG, good for 52nd and 60th nationally.
Defense - 2014
The 2014 defense featured a “sum is greater than its parts” approach, as individual star power was a little lackluster. Up front, Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson paved the way at DT, while the LB corps featured Mike Hull and Brandon Bell; the back end included Adrian Amos and Jordan Lucas. The defense allowed just 269.6 YPG (#2 nationally) and 17.7 PPG (#8 nationally), both significant steps up from the previous year.
The Transition Era team outgained their opponents by 147.9 YPG (easily the best margin), and outscored their opponents by 11.4 PPG (easily the worst margin).
This is a matchup of strength-on-strength. The Transition Era team grinds out yards, but struggles to score touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Current Era team likely won’t outgain their opponents by as many yards, but will do a better job of out-scoring them.
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 #2?
This poll is closed
Current Era (2023 Offense + 2023 Defense)
Transition Era (2012 Offense + 2014 Defense)