The start to this college football season has been a real nightmare for Penn State. Even with a number of big departures and opt-outs, no one thought the Nittany Lions would start the season 0-3.
The Nittany Lions fell 36-35 to Indiana, in one of the most dramatic finishes of the season so far. Last week, No. 3 Ohio State beat them 38-25, a fairly respectable performance all things considered. The Buckeyes are considered a major College Football Playoff contender and the Big Ten favorite.
Tonight’s loss sends Penn State into a bit of panic. Maryland, coming off of a 3-9 season and two weeks removed from a 40-point loss to Northwestern, knocked off PSU comfortably, 35-19.
After the game, head coach James Franklin was a bit at a loss over what went wrong. “We’ve lost three different ways,” he said, per ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg. “In years past, we’ve found different ways to win a game.”
Franklin: “We’ve lost three different ways. In years past, we’ve found different ways to win game. We’ve got to get it fixed and we’ve got to get it fixed fast.”
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) November 8, 2020
He’s not totally wrong there. His Penn State team was also literal inches from beating an Indiana team that looks legitimately good. The No. 13 Hoosiers stomped Michigan today, 38-21.
Penn State football has been the second best team in the Big Ten East for much of Franklin’s tenure. He certainly doesn’t have nearly the same pressure that Jim Harbaugh does in Ann Arbor. Still, the 0-3 start is well below expectations for a program like PSU, even with those star opt-outs impacting them more than most teams this year.
Next week should provide a pretty prime opportunity for a win. Penn State is at Nebraska, which is 0-2 after today’s 21-13 loss to Northwestern. Both historic programs really need that one.
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