Usually in our takeaways, we would highlight a few key players or few key plays but today we’re going to take a big-picture look at the game.
Great way to finish the regular season:
The regular season is officially over and, man, was it a roller coaster for Nittany Nation. The Nittany Lions started off hot before an ugly five game stretch where they went 2-3 but could’ve easily been 0-5. In truth, the last eight games of Penn State’s season weren’t pretty. They struggled a lot and at times left you dumbfounded at what you are seeing. But in the end, a 9-3 season was on par with most expectations by national pundits. After last week’s dismal performance against Rutgers, the team as a whole needed a dominant effort against Maryland and it delivered.
The offense was tremendous on Saturday, putting together one of its best performances of the season. They offense finished with 565 total yards including three touchdowns from Trace McSorley. The defense was once again stellar. The Terrapins not only finished the game with just 3 points but they were limited to 259 total yards. The defense also racked up five sacks and 15 tackles for loss. It has allowed just a single touchdown since the Iowa game.
All in all, the Nittany Lions finished the regular season with their best and most complete game of the season.
The victory was sweet for sure, but at the same time it was the last home game for one of Penn State’s most decorated senior classes. The senior class lead the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten Championship, back-to-back (to back?) 10-plus win seasons, and back-to-back (to back?) New Years Six bowls. It will have a shot at another 10-win season with a win in a bowl game and could very well make it into another New Years Six bowl game. Obviously, the headliner of the senior class was quarterback Trace McSorley who rewrote the Penn State history books during his career in Happy Valley. His senior year wasn’t whatr many hoped it would be, but the Virginia native will be remembered as nothing less than a Penn State legend.
Finally, a non-Penn State point and the last point I have is that the Maryland Terrapins probably deserve a better finish to their season. Not the university itself, but the student-athletes and interim head coach Matt Canada. They were nowhere close to beating the Nittany Lions on Saturday but prior to Saturday, they had lost their last two games by a total of two points. Canada did a terrific job with the Terrapins and the administration would be just plain stupid to not give him a shot to be the full-time head coach. The Terrapins and their coaching staff did a hell of a job in remembering Jordan McNair this and year and I’m sure they made him proud.