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Penn State Survives Tough Three Game Stretch, But Big Challenges Lie Ahead

Penn State football entered its game against Iowa at Kinnick Stadium as the No. 10 team in the nation with a 5-0 record to boot. The Nittany Lions defeated the Hawkeyes in a tight game and then outlasted Michigan in the White Out before pulling off a convincing win over Michigan State, in the rain, no less, in East Lansing. The Nittany Lions are now ranked No. 5 with a historic 8-0 mark on the season.

James Franklin said he was pleased with his team’s recent performances at his Wednesday press conference.

“We had three really challenging games in a row,” Franklin said. “You talk about a game against Iowa at night, on-the-road at a place that’s been a [house of horrors] for a lot of people. The next week we had the White Out against one of the most talented rosters in the country, which was a tough, physical, emotional game. Then have to come back and do it again against this group.”

Although he tries to stick with a 1-0 mentality, the head coach knew how key this three-game stretch was.

“As much as I want everybody to take it one game at a time, every single one of our 700,000 alumni and every single [reporter] looked at this stretch and knew it was going to be a challenge,” Franklin said. “For us to be able to get through it and get in to this bye week is really important.”

The Nittany Lions are pleased to have their second bye week of the season come at such a perfect time this weekend. The team will get a much-needed break and extra time to prepare for yet another dangerous road test against No. 13 and undefeated Minnesota, along with a huge game against No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus.

Franklin mentioned having some things to clean up during the bye week, and it’s safe to assume that Franklin was referring to the nine penalties that cost the Nittany Lions 104 yards against Michigan State. Several of those were unsportsmanlike conduct calls.

While this was clearly an extremely tough stretch for Penn State, two of its most challenging games of the season are still on the horizon. Unnecessary penalties — especially those coming after the whistle — need to be erased if the Nittany Lions want to come out of Minnesota, and especially Ohio State, with a win.

There’s no doubt that this three-game stretch was a brutal point for Penn State’s season, but the two opponents approaching will offer challenges that the team hasn’t yet needed to face this season. If Franklin’s squad can prevent needless penalties, maintain its offensive consistency, and remain unstoppable on defense, however, they could put an astonishing end on an already memorable season.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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