PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



The Nittany Lions Are Your Big Ten Champions Because They Never Gave Up

“I don’t want to say we’re a second-half team because we’re trying to change that,” James Franklin said after his team’s win over Purdue back in October.

Well nothing has changed since then, and it doesn’t matter. Penn State ran the table, put up first halves with much to be desired, and surged in the second half each time to end up in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game.

Why would this game be any different for the Nittany Lions? They fell behind 28-7 in the first half, and with some similarities to their Pitt loss, scored late in the half to make it look respectable — just a two-score game.

Well, the story finished a little bit different at Lucas Oil Stadium than it did at Heinz Field. Penn State completed this incredible comeback.

“I don’t like the fact that we don’t get started as quickly as I think we can, but I do like the fact that I’m able to come in at halftime and say to our guys that we’re a second-half team,” Franklin said. “I think the last eight games of the year we averaged 27 points in the second half and only gave up six.”

Saturday’s game was a B1G Championship, and it required some B1G performances.

That all starts with Big Ten Grange-Griffin Most Valuable Player Trace McSorley. What didn’t the redshirt sophomore in his first season as the full-time starter do tonight?

McSorley passed for 384 yards and four touchdowns — both Big Ten Championship Game records. He also broke Matt McGloin’s single-season passing yards school record in the process — finishing with 3,360 through 13 games.

The spectacular night for McSorley was all about trust.

“Trust the system, trust the game plan,” the quarterback said. “Just trying to take what the defense was giving me and trust the defense. I kept trusting them. Everything came together and we were able to carry it through the rest of the game.”

A huge reason McSorley was able to succeed on the night had to do with the incredible performances of his wide receiving crew.

A handful of guys stepped up and made this comeback possible and it all started with the performance junior Saeed Blacknall put in. The New Jersey-native put up a career-high 155 yards receiving and two touchdowns from 40-yard and 70-yard receptions that helped turn a 28-7 lead to a 28-21 lead early in the third quarter.

Blacknall, who has been through the highs and lows in each of Franklin’s three seasons as head coach, zoned in during the performance to overcome the tough circumstances in this game — just as he and his teammates have done since beginning their Penn State careers.

“We just worked so hard and came from such a low place as a family for the first two years,” Blacknall said. “For us to have the season we did the last nine games and come here with the adversity we faced today. We were able to overcome it and it was beautiful.”

Every program in the country wants to hit home that its players and coaches will never give up on a game, or on each other. Penn State football, for everything it has been through in the past couple years, embodies this better than any other program in the country.

“With the coaches that we have in this program, they have taught us never to put your head down, never give up, trust in what we’re doing,” Mike Gesicki said. I don’t know if it’s great for us, but we honestly do believe we’re a second half team.”

Whether you’re talking about Penn State coming out of the locker room stronger and ready to make a comeback on Saturday’s, or about restoring glory to a program that was left for dead just a few years ago, Penn State football will never give up.

About the Author

Steve Connelly

Steve Connelly is a junior majoring in PR and an editor for Onward State. He is a proud native of the state of New Jersey, and yes, he is literal trash. He is a soccer fan, nap enthusiast, and chicken tender connoisseur. He tried to be a photographer once, but the only good thing that came out of it is a name for his future sports bar, The Blurry Zamboni. You can follow him on Twitter @slc2o (feel free to slide), email him at [email protected], or come say hi to him in his office, the Irving's basement.


More by Steve

Former Cal Swimmer Says She Emailed Sandy Barbour About Sexual Harassment Claims

Longtime Cal athletics employee Mohamed Muqtar was accused by seven former Golden Bears student-athletes of sexual violence and harassment dating back 20 years prior to his firing on May 11. An internal investigation from the school substantiated those claims.

Christian Hackenberg Detailed Development Frustration Before Trade To Raiders

Predicting Penn State’s 2018 Kickoff Times


North Dakota Interested In Playing Against Penn State Hockey In Nashville

North Dakota is working towards an agreement that will see its hockey team play against Penn State in Nashville during the 2020-21 season.

Former Cal Swimmer Says She Emailed Sandy Barbour About Sexual Harassment Claims

Max Sauve Commits To Penn State Hockey

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Student Life

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

State Theatre Recognized As A State College Historic Site

As it approaches the 80th anniversary of its opening, the State Theatre has been recognized as a State College historic site.

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Send this to a friend