With the 2018 season officially in the rear view mirror, we can now look back and see how the season went with some clarity.
The Lions started strong with wins over Appalachian State, Pitt, Kent State, and Illinois, in which they averaged 55.5 points per game, while giving up only 19.5 points per game.
Then in week 5, they had #2 Ohio State on the ropes, leading by 12 points with 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter, before unraveling, ultimately losing by 27-26.
From there, it seemed like the team – chock full of young players unused to adversity – folded a bit. After the bye, they came out flat against Michigan State, losing at the last minute again, and officially ending any playoff hopes.
The next two weeks saw one-possession wins over Indiana and Iowa, with the offense sputtering.
A trip to Ann Arbor led to the most one-sided loss for the squad since their last trip to Ann Arbor, and calls for Trace McSorley to be benched in favor of Tommy Stevens. Trace had been nursing an injury and just seemed off.
Then the team rattled off three straight wins over Wisconsin, Rutgers, and Maryland, with an average margin of victory of 20 points.
Finishing at 9-3 on the regular season, the Lions drew the Kentucky Wildcats in the VRBO Citrus Bowl. Of course, the game did not go as well as we all hoped, and despite a wild fourth quarter rally, Penn State lost 27-24.
So how do you feel about the 2018 season? There were plenty of issues – drops by the wide receivers, dumb penalties, special teams woes, offensive ineptitude. But there were also several bright spots – the defense became much more stout as the season went on, Blake Gillikin continued to bomb punts, Jake Pinegar became (mostly) reliable.
How would you grade the 2018 football season?
818 votes total
Overall, I’ll give this season a B. After losing Saquon Barkley, Joe Moorhead, DaeSean Hamilton, and Mike Gesicki on offense, as well as both starting DTs, two starting LBs, and virtually the entire secondary on defense, the team still finished within 3 points of a 10-win season. Not quite as good as I’d hoped, but not quite as bad as I feared.
What say you?