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Young Development Silver Lining In Penn State Football’s Disappointing Season

The Nittany Lions are 0-4 for the first time since 2001 and just the second time in program history.

Folks haven’t had many good things to say about the team over the past few weeks, but the performance of the young players against Nebraska on Saturday could provide a bright spot for fans to be happy about.

Let’s start with the backfield. Penn State’s recent struggles in the run game since the start of the season have been no secret, but it appears that the young running back room may have turned things around on Saturday.

Devyn Ford led the young group with 11 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown, while Kevyone Lee ran for 50 yards and Caziah Holmes scored his first touchdown as a Nittany Lion with 49 yards on the ground. They were able to deliver big runs when needed, such as multiple runs for first downs from Devyn Ford late in the game, and a 36-yard run from Caziah Holmes.

Overall, the three running backs rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 5.9 yards per attempt. After losing Journey Brown and Noah Cain for the season, all three backs seemed to be more comfortable in their roles as the main ball carriers for the team.

The wide receivers certainly didn’t disappoint either. While junior Jahan Dotson was kept quiet by the Nebraska defense for most of the game, other young talents made a splash in the game and continued their solid seasons.

Freshman receiver Parker Washington brought in five catches for 70 yards, while KeAndre Lambert Smith took in three passes for 35 yards, including a huge grab to help Penn State move the chains on a fourth-down conversion on the last drive of the game. Washington also made a great catch on the last drive of the game to convert on a third-down.

The two receivers continued to flash great potential, as they were able to come down with a lot of highly contested passes.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Jayson Oweh and linebacker Brandon Smith continued to perform well with solid days on the field.

Even though Oweh wasn’t able to sack quarterback Luke McCaffery, the sophomore still led the team with nine total tackles and 1.5 for a loss. Meanwhile, sophomore Brandon Smith was able to come up with Penn State’s only turnover of the game. Smith also registered six tackles and 0.5 for a loss.

Saturday’s performance was far from perfect, but these young players all showed major signs of improvement. Most notably, the younger guys appear to be getting more comfortable in their new roles with the team as the season has progressed.

Even though most people don’t feel like there’s anything positive to say about the team, the future is going to be bright if these players continue developing into stars.

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a sophomore accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the Rangers, Jets, Mets, and any Penn State athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Penn State and Rangers content.

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