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Bye Week Comes At The Perfect Time For Penn State

A bye week can be a catch-22 sometimes for football teams.

When everything is going well, teams want to keep things rolling and not lose their rhythm. But after a gut-wrenching, one-point loss, a bye week the following week is a blessing.

Last season, following the the heart breaking loss in Columbus, the Nittany Lions compounded the error by dropping a second consecutive game against the Spartans. If James Franklin’s team wants to retain postseason hopes of any kind, it cannot allow another one point loss to the Buckeyes to snowball.

There’s no doubt that Penn State was the more talented team on the field in East Lansing last season. But instead of rebounding following the defeat at the Horseshoe, the Nittany Lions looked as though they lacked energy and focus following the crushing loss a week earlier.

They started well enough, opening the game with a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. But then the prolonged weather delay happened, and the Penn State team that came back out of the tunnel after the delay was almost unrecognizable.

Trace McSorley had an uncharacteristically rough night, throwing three interceptions. Saquon Barkley was held in check, and Michigan State took advantage of the Nittany Lions’ mistakes to win 27-24.

Even though Penn State lost the turnover battle 3-1, it was still able to move the ball effectively, totaling 466 total yards on the night. A clean, mistake-free game most likely would have seen the Nittany Lions walk out of East Lansing with a somewhat comfortable win.

That’s why the placement of the bye week could not have been any better for Penn State this year. The Nittany Lions now have an extra week to learn from the little mistakes they made that ultimately cost them against Ohio State. The extra week will also afford them the opportunity to rest and refocus before their matchup with the Spartans next weekend.

Despite last week’s loss to Ohio State, the Nittany Lions’ postseason hopes are far from dead. They don’t even need Ohio State to fall apart to make the playoff, according to ESPN’s Playoff Predictor.

That said, a second loss will end any and all hope Penn State has at a playoff berth — just like it did last year.

Michigan State has looked far from unbeatable this season. The Spartans barely staved off an upset in week one against Utah State before losing at Arizona State the following week.

With the game being played at Beaver Stadium — and on Homecoming, no less — there’s no doubt the Nittany Lions have the ability to take care of the Spartans next Saturday.

They just need to put the loss against the Buckeyes behind them, and the bye week should give them the time to do just that.

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About the Author

Matthew Fox

Matt is a Senior from Lansdale Pennsylvania majoring in Broadcast Journalism. He loves sports, and is still patiently waiting for the Philadelphia Flyers to win a Stanley Cup. If you would ever like to reach out to Matt you can email him at [email protected]

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