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Penn State’s Rose Bowl win could be sign of bigger things to come

Penn State’s Rose Bowl win got the Nittany Lions back to 11-2 this year, not to mention could propel PSU football to bigger and better.



Penn State football, Joseph Appiah Darkwa, Transfer Portal, Temple
Penn State's Coziah Izzard (99) celebrates his sack of Indiana's Jack Tuttle (14) during the first half of the Indiana versus Penn State football game at Memorial Stadium on Satruday, Nov. 5, 2022.

Monday night, Penn State football won its 11th game of the 2022-23 season. This time, the Nittany Lions knocked off No. 8 Utah — the defending PAC-12 Champions — 35-21 in the Rose Bowl. The win is massive for Penn State, and could be a sign of bigger things on the horizon.

Penn State’s Rose Bowl berth

It cannot be emphasized enough how important this season was for Penn State football. From 2020-21 the Nittany Lions appears to be declining as a program, finishing 4-5 in 2020 and 7-6 a year ago. Over this span, Penn State was 0-1 in bowl games and had no ranked finishes (not to mention the 11-11 overall record and losing record in Big Ten play).

Heading into the year, most figured Penn State was bound to finish 7-5 once again. That being said, James Franklin and Co. bounced back with some massive wins and a program-restoring season. The Nittany Lions’ only two losses this year were at No. 2 Michigan and vs. No. 4 Ohio State — two of the four College Football Playoff teams this year.

While Penn State football finished in 3rd place in the Big Ten, the Nittany Lions still managed to secure a Rose Bowl bid and a shot at redemption for Penn State’s narrow loss to USC in the 2017 Rose Bowl game.

What the win means for Penn State

For the Nittany Lions, this win just means more. It gets Penn State back to 11-2 overall, will launch PSU into the top-10 to end the year, gets Penn State football its first top-10 win since 2016, and establishes Penn State as one of the nation’s top programs once again.

In the past five years the Nittany Lions have now won three New Year’s Six bowls (2017 Fiesta, 2019 Cotton, 2023 Rose). This is an accomplishment that no one thought possible when James Franklin took over a sanctioned program back in 2014.

On top of that, Franklin and Co. have led Penn State to four 11-win campaigns in the past six full seasons — another major milestone for PSU. This year’s Rose Bowl win was Penn State’s first since 1995 when Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions finished the season with a 12-0 record and arguably should have been crowned National Champions.

The win is a sign for things to come

As all Penn State football fans know, this year was supposed to be a developmental year. The Nittany Lions came into the season with low expectations, unranked, and were projected to finish around 7-5 again. Instead, the Lions’ young talent took over and proved to be better than anyone thought possible.

Now, Penn State sits at 11-2 to end the year — this is a great accomplishment, but gives fans hope that 2023 and beyond could be Playoff years for PSU. The Nittany Lions are yet to make the CFP and have only won the Big Ten once (2016) in the title game era.

Penn State brings back a ton of talent — many of which are standout freshman such as Abdul Carter and Nick Singleton — and could be an early favorite to win the conference. Like all Penn State football fans, we cannot be more excited to see what this team can do next season.


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