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Gut reactions to Penn State’s Rose Bowl win over Utah

Yet again, Penn State football sits at 11-2 and will finish in the top-10.



Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Nicholas Singleton (10) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the Utah Utes in the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Monday evening, Penn State football brought home yet another 11-win season and a New Year’s Six win. This time, the Nittany Lions escaped Pasadena with a 35-21 win over No. 8 Utah and will bring a Rose Bowl trophy to State College for the first time since 1995.

Penn State is breaking trends

All season long, the Nittany Lions have been breaking previous trends. In years past, Penn State football consistently would blow games in big moments, lose to lesser opponents, and blow games against top-10 competition.

So far this year, many of these trends are no more. That is not to say Penn State broke every trend by much — the Lions still lost to No. 2 Michigan and No. 4 Ohio State — but I will give credit where it is due. After Penn State’s 4-5 season in 2020 and 7-6 season in 2021, many thought that Penn State’s previous success under James Franklin was simply lucky.

Despite the two losses to College Football Playoff (CFP) teams, Penn State still managed to finish the year 10-2 and receive a Rose Bowl bid. To many people’s surprise, the Nittany Lions managed to beat everyone they were favored against; in fact, many of these games were blowout wins, which is also new for Franklin and Co.

Since 2016, Penn State football has one top-10 win: tonight’s victory over No. 8 Utah. Before tonight, Franklin had only notched two top-10 wins: No. 2 Ohio State (2016) and No. 6 Wisconsin (2016). Penn State also responded to both of its losses with a blowout win, which is simply unheard of in the James Franklin era.

The Rose Bowl win was just another example of the Nittany Lions’ ability to break these devastating trends. More than anything, this is a great sign for Penn State’s future in 2023 and beyond.

Nick Singleton is going to be a problem

I am not telling you anything that you don’t already know, but Nick Singleton is going to be an issue for the Big Ten going forward. The Nittany Lions’ true freshman running back has been giving everyone fits all season long, and against the PAC-12 Champions, the story was no different.

In his freshman season (13 games) Singleton carried the football 149 times for 941 yards and 10 touchdowns. In Penn State’s bowl win, Singleton carried the ball seven times for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Just as we have seen all year long, much of Penn State’s success can be attributed to Nick Singleton’s tough running.

This team is going to be scary good in 2023

The 2022 season was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Penn State football. If 11-2 with a Rose Bowl victory is rebuilding, watch out for the Nittany Lions in 2023.

While the Clifford era had its moments, I suspect that the Drew Allar era will be even better in State College. The Nittany Lions are stacked with young talent on both sides of the ball, and should be eying a Big Ten Championship within the next three years.

There is no excuse for Penn State to not be in the mix for the Big Ten and a CFP spot for the next few years, and after tonight, I am confident that the Nittany Lions can get there.

What a way to send Sean Clifford off

Since 2019, Penn State fans have watched with joy and in horror as Sean Clifford continued to take the field as the Nittany Lions’ starter. Now, after six years of college football, Clifford has finished off his college career.

While he has seen his ups and downs, Clifford has always put his best foot forward and given Penn State his all. I cannot think of a better way to send off the Nittany Lions’ all-time leading passer than with a dominant win in the Rose Bowl.

Clifford will finish his college career as Penn State’s all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions, completion percentage, and wins. Whether you love him or hate him, Sean Clifford is a Penn State football legend.

PSU football is back

As I said earlier, many speculated that Penn State’s reign of dominance had come to a close after the 2021 season. From 2016-2019 it seemed as if the Nittany Lions were trending towards being one of the nation’s elite, and Penn State was undoubtedly a top-10 program.

From 2016-19 Penn State won a Big Ten Championship, two New Year’s Six games, had three 11-win seasons, and one nine-win season. In 2020, all of that changed as Penn State saw its first losing season in nearly two decades.

In 2021, injuries derailed PSU’s season and saw the Nittany Lions finish 7-6 with a 24-10 loss in the Outback Bowl to Arkansas. The 11-11 record from 2020-21 gave fans and national media little hope; however, James Franklin and his Nittany Lions are officially back. Once again, Penn State football will finish with 11 wins and a New Year’s Six trophy — this time, a trail of roses will follow the Lions back to State College.

What a way to cap off a fantastic season of Penn State football. We’re glad it came, sad it’s over, and are already looking forward to the next one.


Penn State football yet to name a starting quarterback heading into summer camp

The Penn State football starting quarterback situation remains unresolved heading into the summer.



Penn State football starting quarterback, Drew Allar, James Franklin
Apr 15, 2023; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar (15) walks off the field following the competition of the Blue White spring game at Beaver Stadium. The Blue team defeated the White team 10-0. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Yesterday, the media was invited back to State College to speak with a few members of the Nittany Lions’ coaching staff for the first time since the Blue/White game in mid-April. During the press conference, head coach James Franklin was asked about the unresolved QB situation, which was last discussed during his previous media appearance. His response was straightforward: there is currently no designated Penn State football starting quarterback.

Penn State football starting quarterback yet to be named ahead of summer ball

This fall, the Blue and White will have a new quarterback for the first time since 2018. For the past four years, Sean Clifford, the Lions’ former 6th-year QB, was assumed to be the Penn State football starting quarterback ahead of all four seasons.

Throughout the offseason, the competition has been primarily between two individuals: Drew Allar and Beau Pribula, both entering their second season with the Nittany Lions. However, head coach James Franklin emphasizes that the starting quarterback position for Penn State football is still up for grabs as the team heads into summer ball.

“I think really every year it’s the same philosophy,” James Franklin said on Thursday. “I think sometimes it’s assumed, which, I get it, but it’s competition at every position. A lot of things can happen between now and the season; even when Sean Clifford was here … he was competing for the starting job every single year. If he would get beat out, that was his problem, not mine.

“We have competition at every single position every single year, returning starter or not,” Franklin continued. “I think that’s the right thing to do — not only for our entire program, but I also think for the starter.”

Drew Allar is expected to take over despite the decision pending

While James Franklin is yet to name a starting quarterback for the 2023 season, it is widely assumed that former five-star prospect Drew Allar, the No. 1 quarterback in the 2022 class, will secure the position and become the starting quarterback for Penn State football.

Blue and White fans have been eagerly anticipating the start of the Allar era in Happy Valley for years. If everything goes as expected, fans won’t have to wait much longer, as the Nittany Lions will kick off their 2023 season against West Virginia in just 85 days.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at or direct message us on our social media. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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2023 Penn State football offensive line ranked in top 10

Today, the 2023 Penn State football offensive line was ranked among the nation’s top 10.



2023 Penn State football offensive line
Sep 18, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) gestures from the line of scrimmage during the second quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Today, new rankings were released by 247 Sports, a trusted publication in the world of college athletics, which ranked the 2023 Penn State football offensive line among the top 10 best units in the nation. A season ago, the Nittany Lions’ offensive line showed shocking improvement as they helped lead the Blue and White to an impressive 11-2 campaign, which was capped with a Rose Bowl win over Utah.

2023 Penn State football offensive line ranked among top 10 nationally

In 2021, the Penn State football offensive line was perhaps as bad as it has ever been, leading to a stagnant rushing attack, an injured quarterback, and overall offensive failure. As a result, the Blue and White made a few staff changes, and these new faces, combined with rising young talents like Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen, brought the Nittany Lions back to success on the offensive side of the football.

For the first time since 2018, Penn State had a 1,000-yard rusher, and they nearly had two of them. Additionally, Sean Clifford had a chance to make decisions and throw the ball with his feet set, resulting in an improved passing game and overall success. By the end of the season, Penn State football had 11 wins, with all but one of those wins being blowouts, including the Lions’ huge win in the Rose Bowl.

Heading into the new season, the expectations for the Blue and White are growing higher and higher. The 2023 Penn State football offensive line is projected to be even bigger and better than the 2022 line. If the Nittany Lions expect to appear in the College Football Playoff or make a run at the Big Ten title this year, it will start with their performance up front.

According to today’s new rankings from 247 Sports, the 2023 Penn State football offensive line ranks among the nation’s top 10, coming in at No. 8 ahead of the new season. Fans will get their first glimpse of this new-look offensive line this fall when the Nittany Lions host the West Virginia Mountaineers at Beaver Stadium in State College, PA.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at or direct message us on our social media. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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Penn State football: Best wins over 2023 opponents – Iowa

It took all 60 minutes – literally – but Penn State football escaped this game at Kinnick with a victory.



Penn State Football, Iowa
Sep 23, 2017; Iowa City, IA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) jumps over Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Joshua Jackson (15) and defensive back Amani Hooker (27) as Nittany Lions wide receiver Juwan Johnson (84) looks to block during the fourth quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Penn State won 21-19. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Today, we continue our series of the best Penn State football wins over 2023 opponents with Iowa. Penn State’s best wins over the Hawkeyes have come at the price of some heartache as well. The two schools met nine times before the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten, with Penn State winning six matchups.

Starting conference play, it seemed the Nittany Lions would continue this advantage, winning four of their first five contests with the Hawkeyes. But then the trouble started. Iowa dominated the series in the early 2000s. Some of the major letdowns include the infamous 6-4 game and a heartbreaking last-second loss in 2008 that cost the Nittany Lions a shot at the national championship.

Since 2011 Penn State has won most of the matchups, but the last contest in 2021 left a bad taste in the mouths of Nittany Lions fans. Penn State will look to cleanse that in this year’s matchup in Happy Valley under the lights of a Beaver Stadium White Out.

However, of all the matchups, there is one game and resulting Nittany Lion victory that stands out in this series. This would be the 2017 contest in Kinnick.

Saquon Barkley was an inhuman force for Penn State football

A game in Kinnick Stadium is never easy. The fans are raucous and sit right on top of the players. The stadium’s design literally puts the stands as close to the sidelines as possible. If it is a night game, then the atmosphere turns up tenfold.

That is precisely what the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions faced in 2017. Both teams entered the contest undefeated, and the Hawkeyes had developed a reputation for upsets. Iowa’s last three home contests against top-five foes all ended in victories. The Hawkeyes looked to make Penn State its latest victim on this late September night.

But Saquon Barkley did his part and then some to ensure the Nittany Lions would be on the winning end. He finished the game with 211 yards on the ground with a touchdown, and added 12 receptions for 94 yards. His standout play of the night was this beauty that has gone down in Penn State football folklore.

It took all 60 minutes to beat Iowa

The game was quite sluggish to start. The teams traded punts through most of the first half, with Penn State converting a field goal, missing another, and getting a safety to lead 5-0 late in the second quarter. Then Trace McSorley would throw an interception, setting up the Hawkeyes deep in Nittany Lion territory. Iowa converted the opportunity into a touchdown to take a 7-5 halftime lead.

The Nittany Lions led 15-7 after three frames. But then the Iowa offense finally woke up. Running back Akrum Wadley scored two touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air, giving Iowa a 19-15 lead with just one minute and 42 seconds remaining in the game.

It looked like the Hawkeyes would pull another upset against a top-five foe. That is, until McSorley, Barkley, and the Penn State offense went on one magical final drive. Juwan Johnson’s touchdown catch, the first of his career, silenced the Kinnick crowd as time expired. 

Penn State won and kept its College Football Playoff hopes alive for several more weeks, until back-to-back close losses against Ohio State and Michigan State dashed those dreams. But the Nittany Lions finished the season with an 11-2 record and a win over Washington in the Fiesta Bowl. Despite the season not ending in a playoff berth, the game against Iowa is one Nittany Lion fans still remember fondly.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at or direct message us on our social media. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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