Analyzing Post-Auburn Reactions For Penn State Football

Penn State football is coming off one of its most complete games since 2019 after crushing Auburn 41-12 at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.

The Nittany Lions forced four turnovers, and Penn State’s rushing attack popped off against the Tigers, leading to a soul-crushing victory down in SEC territory. It may have been the game Penn State needed to catapult its season, and its arguably its biggest victory in a while.

With three wins under its belt, Penn State is in a position to make a run in the Big Ten this year. Even though things are looking good, there are still some spicy takes out there. So, let’s take a look at ’em.

‘The Win Is Overhyped Because Auburn Isn’t Good This Year’

Frankie Marzano: If this is your take, I don’t respect you. In case you didn’t hear on the television broadcast, Jordan-Hare Stadium was loud to start the game. The pregame ceremony was as loud as the White Out. It doesn’t matter how good Auburn is. If a team goes into the White Out and beats a terrible Penn State team, it’s still a great win. And that’s exactly what it is for Penn State. If you still think that the win isn’t good, then I suggest you find another sport to watch because you’re probably never going to find joy in watching Penn State football.

Sam Fremin: Is Auburn bad? Or did James Franklin, Mike Yurcich, and Manny Diaz coach their team to neutralize the opponent? An SEC win in a hostile environment is nothing to turn your nose up at. Ever.

Ryan Parsons: I saw a lot of fans implying this after the game and I have to say: Why do you hate the team so much? Obviously, Auburn’s program is in a weird place and isn’t quite a powerhouse anymore, but you have to do some serious mental gymnastics to discredit that win as anything but a statement win for the Nittany Lions and James Franklin. No Big Ten team has ever played in Jordan-Hare Stadium because, well, it’s a very hard place to play.

Gabe Angieri: Lighten up, people. I feel like you’re just trying to be negative if this is your take. As my colleague Ryan Parsons said, there’s a reason why Penn State was the first Big Ten team to ever play at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It’s tough, man.

‘Sean Clifford Killed All The Drew Allar Speculation With His Performance’

Frankie Marzano: He ended the speculation, in my opinion. The argument against starting Allar has been centered around the fact that we don’t know what he can do in big games like what Penn State just had. Even though I don’t doubt that he could, we simply don’t know if he can thrive in that type of setting. Clifford handled that game like a seasoned veteran. Getting up from that hit he took in the first quarter and leading Penn State to the end zone on the very next drive was gritty. Additionally, he made the right plays and didn’t make a single mistake. That’s what Penn State needs in its quarterback.

Sam Fremin: It should, but it won’t. Regardless of what people will say, Clifford looks noticeably improved. Take his first-quarter throw to Mitchell Tinsley against Auburn. He threw it before Tinsley even turned and placed the ball perfectly. That’s a veteran throw. Tack on his leadership and physical toughness, and it becomes obvious who should be QB1. Allar is the future. Don’t confuse motion with progress.

Ryan Parsons: Clifford didn’t quite have a lights-out, shut-up-the-haters performance against the Tigers, but I’m not sure if they win the game without him. He completed 74% of his passes and did basically everything that was asked of him, making nearly no mistakes en route to his highest QBR of the season. We saw the “game manager” side of Clifford that relied on his running backs and didn’t try to do too much. I love Drew Allar as much as the next guy, but Cliff is QB1.

Gabe Angieri: This team will go as far as Sean Clifford takes it this year. So far, Clifford looks like he can take this team pretty far. It’s not like these first three games were slam-dunk wins. Beating Purdue and Auburn on the road is no joke. Drew Allar will be the guy one day. That day won’t be today, next week, or next month.

‘Nick Singleton Will Get Heisman Votes This Year’

Frankie Marzano: If he keeps this up, then yes. He has more yards through three games than Larry Johnson did during his Heisman finalist season in 2002. So, it’s definitely not outside the realm of possibility

Sam Fremin: I’m guessing probably not, but that’s not entirely out of the question. Singleton is the real deal, and I predict a Heisman finalist appearance by the end of his career, even if it doesn’t come this year.

Ryan Parsons: If not this year, then most likely next year. Singleton is an absolute dog and is single-handedly adjusting Penn State’s offensive outlook. His impact so far has been immense and his stats are absurd, especially for a true freshman.

Gabe Angieri: Based on talent and production, I’d say yes. However, some things are out of his control, including the number of touches he gets. I simply don’t think he’ll get enough carries to cement himself as a legitimate Heisman candidate, as it’s a crowded backfield. Heck, wouldn’t that be cool, though?

‘That Was Penn State’s Best All-Around Performance Since 2019’

Frankie Marzano: There’s no doubt about this one. I don’t remember watching Penn State hold an opponent down as it did to Auburn since Maryland in 2019, especially in a tough road environment like Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Sam Fremin: Absolutely. Dare I say it was better than all of 2019, as well. Time will tell what the proper takeaways are, but that was a near-perfect master class from all involved.

Ryan Parsons: That was Penn State’s best all-around performance since I don’t even know when. Maybe last year against Auburn? In 2019 against Michigan? It’s not every day you curb-stomp an SEC team in their own backyard.

Gabe Angieri: I covered the team full-time in 2020 & 2021. There’s no way any of the wins during those two seasons topped this one. It was just an all-around dominant performance.

‘The Auburn Win Will Be Looked Back On As A Turning Point In The Season’

Frankie Marzano: It’s too early to tell. If the team finishes at 7-5, then the answer would obviously be no. But, if the team finishes 11-1 or even wins out, then yes this could be it. You’d have to think that going into a tough SEC environment and curb-stomping your opponent will give you the utmost confidence as a team. It opened the nation’s eyes to Penn State. But don’t get too far ahead of yourself. The Nittany Lions were in this position last year, too.

Sam Fremin: That remains to be seen. I’ve been fooled by Penn State teams before, but the Auburn performance seemed different. Not only did every position group hit their marks, but they did so with confidence and swagger — something this team has been missing in recent years.

Ryan Parsons: Maybe not a turning point, but the team feels very different now. It was hard to get a read against Purdue and Ohio, but it feels like Penn State has an identity now. The team is fun to watch, the vibes seem incredible, and the Nittany Lions will likely roll into Ann Arbor with a 5-0 record. Of course, that sounds a lot like last year, but it’s hard not to feel good about this team after the Auburn win.

Gabe Angieri: I think it’s too early to consider this game a turning point, but it’s certainly a statement win. I think a win in Ann Arbor would serve as a turning point for Penn State. Right now, I think there’s a consensus that Penn State is good. A win in Ann Arbor would legitimize the Nittany Lions as potential playoff contenders, though.

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