Penn State Starts Season 0-3 After AP Top-10 Preseason Ranking

Indiana’s game-winning, overtime touchdown. Photo by Abby Drey, taken on October 24, 2020, Some rights reserved,

Winning the 2019 Liv Mas Student Section of the Year Award, the Penn State Nittany Lions have a very dedicated fanbase, which explains why many have awaited the Lion’s return to the field since their final game of the 2019 season, The Cotton Bowl, against the Memphis Tigers. Penn State along with the rest of the Big Ten Conference premiered their plays Saturday, October 24.

Penn State, specifically, has not started their season off the way many had hoped. They lost their first game of the season in a nail-biting overtime quarter against Indiana. Defying all predictions, PSU fell short by one point. The Lions were down most of the game, but with two and a half minutes remaining the team’s quarterback, Sean Clifford threw a sixty-yard pass to Jahan Dotson for a touchdown. Penn State’s mistake was not running the clock out. In their next possession, Devyn Ford, the Lion’s running back, made a fourteen-yard touchdown allowing Indiana another opportunity with the ball. With 22 seconds remaining, Indiana scored sending the game into overtime. The final play sent Nittany Lion fans into a spiral; the Hoosiers made a touchdown with fifteen seconds left resulting in their first top-ten win since 1987 and their first win against PSU since 2013.

Halloween night Nittany Lion fans braced themselves for the game against rival Ohio State. PSU lost by thirteen points with 325 total yards compared to the Buckeyes’ 526. Although disappointing, the loss was not unexpected. This season, OSU has an especially skilled line-up with quarterback Justin Fields and wide receiver Chris Olave. Overall, the Buckeyes’ defensive line proved to be too much for Penn State to handle.

Penn State’s most recent game was Saturday, November 7, against the Maryland Terrapins. The Nittany Lions lost brutally 35-19, resulting in their fourth 0-3 season in eighty years. Maryland scored their first touchdown against PSU since 2016 and did not stop there. Clifford was responsible for seven of Maryland’s points with a miserable turnover in the third quarter.

The Lions have undoubtedly had a rough start to their season. Some blame it on the lack of fans in the stands, while others are criticizing head coach James Franklin. No longer in the playoff rankings, Penn State fans are counting on a win against the Nebraska Cornhuskers this Saturday, November 14.