White Out Weekly: Nova-PSU Recap // Primetime Stripe-Out Preview (Revenge Game)
While a sunny, late September noon kickoff versus an FCS opponent may seem like a “snooze-fest” to most, the likely hungover student section and the rest of the Beaver Stadium fans were treated to something they’ve never seen before. Their confident, redshirt senior signal caller, Sean Clifford eclipsed the 400 passing yards mark in a single game for the first time in Penn State history (domestically). Penn State’s own Christian Hackenberg slung the rock for 454 yards back in 2014 against UCF, however that matchup was part of the Croke Park Classic which had taken place offshore in Dublin, Ireland.
Not 2 minutes into the game we saw a familiar and elite connection thus far in the young season, as Clifford tossed a 52 yard strike to Jahan Dotson for a quick score and from there the game was never in doubt. Leading by a score of 35-3 as late as the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions ended up squandering a couple touchdowns as they sprinkled in some of their youthful talent on defense, but still defeated the previously 3-0 Villanova Wildcats by a final score of 38-17.
This week, the Nittany Lions find themselves 4-0 in a college football landscape that saw 6 teams in the top 25 come out on the losing end of their contests. In a year where the B1G and CFP seem as open as ever, Penn State will surely take a win over a “cupcake” opponent as they now turn their attention to a full slate of B1G play….starting with the Indiana Hoosiers who crushed our hearts in week one of the 2020 season with the memorable “superman dive” by Michael Pennix Jr. that may or may not have actually been successful. Take a look below if you’re up for it.
A full year and a torn ACL later, Pennix Jr. is off to a rocky start in 2021…completing just 55% of his passes thus far and wearing a negative TD-INT Ratio (4 TD, 6 INT). The Hoosiers come into the primetime matchup in Happy Valley standing at 2-2, with a season opening blowout loss versus Iowa along with a 38-24 loss versus Cincinnati in a game that may have went in a different direction had star LB Micah McFadden not been ejected for targeting. They’ve notched two wins on the year, their first against the lowly Idaho Vandals, and last week’s thrilling win against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in Bowling Green, KY.
This year’s Nittany Lions are focused on the 2021 Indiana Hoosiers, and say they are leaving the 2020 heartbreaker in the past. Star defensive end/linebacker Jesse Luketa was quoted this week saying “We’re focused on this Indiana. We own everything from last season, and it was what it was. We went into the offseason with a chip on our shoulder. We’re excited for this year, and this Indiana”. James Franklin made it very clear this week that he was not entirely thrilled with his team’s performance on Saturday against Villanova, indicating that he wanted to see “more of an edge” from all position groups and showing more tenacity in every facet of the game. With their highest ranking since 2017, Franklin doesn’t want his team to get caught up in their Twitter feeds and national media attention, and had a “edgy” demeanor during Sunday’s practice. “That was intentional. For Everybody to make sure that we are not satisfied or complacent” said Franklin.
Junior safety Keaton Ellis confirmed that Franklin’s comments set that tone for practice this week as he was quoted saying “We had a really great practice. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are our workdays, and we’re really getting after it and preparing the way we should prepare. Everybody is bought in, and we’re really excited.” Penn State looks to go 1-0 this week, where their attention will then shift to a potential Top 5 showdown in Kinnick Stadium where dreams seem to always go to die.
In this week’s episode of White Out Weekly, we take you through anything you may have missed if you were still sleeping during the PSU-Nova game. We then shift to all thing Hoosiers, as Lucci provides an in-depth look at this year’s Indiana squad. PSU 2000-2010 trivia is back as Lucci looks to “Stump the Croatian Bear”. B1G Betting Bonanza continues as I continue to hold the top spot, maybe this week I’ll actually follow my own guidance and make some money.