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Analyzing Post-Ohio State Reactions For Penn State Football

It was a rough weekend to be a Penn State football fan.

The Nittany Lions suffered a complete and utter collapse to Ohio State in their 44-31 loss to the Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon in Beaver Stadium after leading 21-16 with just over nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Sean Clifford committed four turnovers, which included three interceptions and one fumble. It was a day that left Penn Staters across the country frustrated with yet another blown lead to Ohio State.

That’s usually when the takes are spiciest, though. So, let’s get into some of them.

‘This Blown Lead Was Particularly Bad Compared To Others Against Ohio State’

Frankie Marzano: I don’t think so. Giving up 28 points in just seven and a half minutes in the fourth quarter was embarrassing, but I still think 2017 was worse given the implications. The Nittany Lions were ranked No. 2 in the country heading into that matchup that year, and if they had won, they would have almost certainly made the College Football Playoff. That was their best year to win it all.

Sam Fremin: It depends. In a vacuum, I don’t think the end result was something for the team to get down on themselves about. But, the manner in which it occurred changes things. The speed of the collapse must have been impressively frustrating to be a part of.

Ryan Parsons: How quickly everything happened was quite shocking, but it really felt like the game was over in 2017 and 2018. Fourteen points in 34 seconds is impressive, though.

Gabe Angieri: They’re all so bad, man. I’m not going to sit here and rank how bad each one was, but it’s just unacceptable at this point.

‘Penn State Won’t Get The National Recognition It Deserves Because Of How Quickly It Collapsed’

Frankie Marzano: I think it’ll still get the recognition it deserves. The team only dropped three points in the latest AP Poll. We’ll find out the real answer to this question when the first College Football Playoff rankings are released.

Sam Fremin: I think the Nittany Lions played better than their final score. It seems like the AP voters agree. We’ll see if the College Football Playoff does and that’s what really matters.

Ryan Parsons: Ultimately, this won’t really matter until it’s time for bowl selection. Yes, it felt like Penn State was the better team for most of the Ohio State game. No, Penn State did not win the Ohio State game — and that’s really all that matters in the college football world. A ”quality loss” can only boost your resume if you’re vying for a playoff spot.

Gabe Angieri: What “national recognition” are we talking about here? Penn State is a good team, but by no means does it deserve to be recognized as one of the best teams in the country at this point. Great, or should I say elite teams finish the job.

‘With The Odds Against The Fans, They Still Created One Of The Best Atmospheres In Recent Memory’

Frankie Marzano: That was the loudest I had heard Beaver Stadium since the last time Ohio State came to Happy Valley with fans back in 2018. The press box shook multiple times, as the game was tight until the last 10 minutes. I also thought the sun hitting the all-white student section was very aesthetically pleasing. Overall, I thought it was the best Beaver Stadium crowd since that 2018 White Out.

Sam Fremin: I was very impressed. The atmosphere was commendable, especially for a noon game. Personally, I think the volume and fan density should remove complaints about the lack of a White Out for Ohio State. It might as well have been one. Beaver Stadium even shot off fireworks and everything.

Ryan Parsons: Actually, yes. That might’ve been the loudest I’ve heard the stadium since the 2019 Michigan ”Mo Bamba” incident. It felt like there was optimism among fans that Penn State could actually pull it off.

Gabe Angieri: Being in the student section for this game, I can confidently say Beaver Stadium was rockin’. It was absolutely one of the best atmospheres in recent memory. As Ryan said, it gave me flashbacks to the 2019 Michigan game.

‘It Should Be Drew Allar’s Team For The Rest Of The Season’

Frankie Marzano: It should be. We know Sean Clifford’s ceiling. He gave Penn State it all, but it wasn’t enough, unfortunately. Now, the Nittany Lions have the former top-ranked quarterback in the country sitting on the bench, and it should be his time to get the reigns. It feels like there’s nothing left to play for if Clifford starts for the rest of the season. Sure, the Nittany Lions may get to beat up on a lower-ranked ACC team in the Orange Bowl, but that’ll do nothing for the future of the program. If Allar starts and he balls out, the season will have new meaning, and the hype heading into next year will be crazy.

Sam Fremin: He should certainly see the field sooner and more often. If the coaches believe he’s ready to lead the team to a 10-win season, he should get the nod. If the coaches are still hesitant, it still makes sense for him to split time. You do not need to sink or swim your all-but-guaranteed starter for next year, at the risk of alienating veterans on the team and losing grasp of the program’s first 10-win season since 2019. You also don’t need to be playing Sean Clifford for the entirety of games anymore. It’ll be an unpopular opinion, but Penn State needs to be careful with how it proceeds. I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as the prevailing wisdom seems to be…though I certainly wouldn’t complain about seeing the true freshman more than we have.

Ryan Parsons: This is in need of a much more nuanced discussion, but I believe the answer is yes.

Gabe Angieri: As Sam said, this isn’t so cut and dry. But, I think it’s time for Drew Allar to be Penn State’s starting quarterback. Sean Clifford will forever be hated too much, but his time is up.

‘It Feels Like There’s Nothing Left For Penn State To Play For’

Frankie Marzano: See my above point.

Sam Fremin: This is an asinine take. A 10-win season is absolutely something to play for, especially given the team’s recent history. Sorry, folks. Penn State is not the level of a program that is playoff or bust. And punting before the end of the season won’t magically put it on that level. In fact, it might even cause a step back.

Ryan Parsons: Before the season, If you told any fan that Penn State was going 10-2, they would likely be elated. But, that doesn’t factor in how weak some of the marquee opponents — mainly Purdue, Auburn, and Michigan State, would end up looking. The program as a whole is desperately in need of a 10-win year and a NY6 bid, which is still contingent on avoiding back-to-back losses at Indiana and dispatching a tough Maryland team, by the way. But, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the season doesn’t feel truly successful without beating Ohio State and Michigan. James Franklin’s goal is to be elite, right? 

Gabe Angieri: This is a stupid take. If Penn State wins out it’ll win 10 games and go to a New Year’s Six bowl game. For a program that has been mediocre for the past two years, that’s definitely something. This isn’t Alabama. This isn’t Georgia. This isn’t Ohio State. This is Penn State.

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

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