National Title Dreams and a Heisman Hopeful

During the last blog I touched on how a game in Iowa at night is a scary one. Upsets just happen. Depending on how this season turns out, what transpired that night may go into the halls of Penn State Football’s all time lore. Per usual, Iowa’s magic at home was working and a Penn State team that seemingly dominated the game (absolutely destroying Iowa in yards gained 579-273) found themselves unable to pull away. The catalyst of the Lion’s offense and emphasis of the pregame hype, Saquon Barkley shined. In arguably the best game of his career the junior put up a staggering 358 all purpose yards, while making play after play that left those watching wondering, “how is that humanly possible?”. Barkley carried the team and solidified his case for the Heisman trophy in front of a national audience, saving PSU from a loss that would have left no room for error in their quest for a championship. Barkley’s heroics, however, were not enough to put Iowa away. In Kinick Stadium, nothing works, and PSU found themselves 80 yards and 1:42 away from no longer being perfect. Displaying incredible composure and leadership, QB Trace McSorely led the Lions down the field to the 7 yard line, converting on a 4th down along the way, with just four seconds left. 4th and Goal. One last play. Penn State needed a miracle- and got one. Juwan Johnson caught his first career touchdown pass as time expired to keep his team perfect and shock the nation.

Miracles like this happen in special seasons, just look at Clemson’s miracle against NC State last year when a kicker missed a chip shot and gave the Tigers a chance in OT.

How does one follow up an incredible performance in a hard fought game? He runs the opening kick against Indiana back for a TD. Saquon Barkley showed the nation that the Iowa game was no fluke. He is the real deal.After Iowa, PSU had a 3:30 start against Indiana. The Lions quickly found themselves up 21-0 in the first quarter although it was because Indiana just made a lot of mistakes. After falling behind 21-0 that early, IU never really had a chance to get back into it against the stout Lion defense. To put an exclamation point on the game, Barkley even threw a touchdown pass prompting the announcer to exclaim, “What can’t he do!” Final PSU 45- IU 14.

After 5 games, Saquon Barkley and Baker Mayfield of OU have separated themselves from the rest of the field of Heisman hopefuls. One dark horse, Bryce Love of Stanford, may give those two a run for their money, however. Elsewhere around CFB, it finally happened. An overrated USC was not able to shake off a horrible game and took the L. They dropped to 15 in the poll while the team that knocked them off, Washington State, climbed to 11.

Next up for the Lions: Northwestern. Another sneaky trap game, 12pm kickoff- 11am in Chicago- has notoriously left the Lions starting slowly. Assuming they take care of business, the Lions will head into their bye 6-0, knowing that their season has just begun and on the other side of that bye waits 7. Michigan in the whiteout, and 10. Ohio State in one of the most dreadful places to play- the Horseshoe.

Lastly, #dontbethatguy goes to the kicker of ECU who punted the ball straight into the back of his teammate. Nice.