By now, it’s no secret that Penn State did not win the Rose Bowl earlier this week. Though Penn State dominated the third quarter with four touchdowns bringing them up with a 14-point lead, we figuratively and literally dropped the ball during the fourth quarter. After tying it up and with a glimmer of hope reflecting in the possibility of overtime, one bad throw blossomed into a turn-over to USC which led to a 46-yard field goal by Matt Boermeester in the final second of the game. Confetti flew as Penn Staters stood dumbfounded and USC fans went ballistic.
As a life-long Penn Stater, this devastated me. I stood in silence in section 15, row 42 of the Rose Bowl stadium expecting— and almost willing— tears to well up in my eyes. Yet they never came.
Instead, I actually smiled. I realize that if you share the same love I have for Dear Old State then you’re probably about to pull your hair thinking, “How could that possibly make you smile?!” Hear me out for a second; even though we lost the game by three points, we won in so many other ways that need to be recognized and celebrated.
We proved we deserved to be there in more ways than one.
For starters, we outscored every other Big Ten team in terms of bowl games by more than ten points. In fact, the 2017 Rose Bowl game was the highest scoring Rose Bowl game in its 103 years. While USC contributed to that, it was a pretty equal effort. We put up an excellent fight instead of getting skunked like someone else we know. *cough, cough* Ohio State.
Other than the Rose Bowl, we had an incredible season.
We went 11-3 for the season with two of those three losses being within one field goal of tying it up. We also completely shut down one of our so-called rivals in November. I won’t mention any names but said rivals couldn’t hold down their own student section to keep their team in high spirits while we crushed them.
Even though we lost, we are almost definitely set to have an amazing season this fall.
As of January 4, 2017, Penn State remains ranked at #5 in the country while University of Southern California has actually fallen from #7 to #8 regardless of the Rose Bowl win. While these might— and most likely will— change when the 2017 season begins, the fact that we are still ranked above the team that beat us in the Rose Bowl is something to be proud of. Also, not to mention, we have locked in some awesome recruits, including four-star safety Isaiah Humphries.
We are, and always will be, Penn State.
We stand in solidarity regardless for our loyal Nittany Lions. The past five years have been difficult for a Penn Stater. As someone who has lived and breathed PSU since the day I was born, the Sandusky trial and all following events affected me in a deep and personal way. But my loyalty never wavered and that’s what being a true Penn Stater is all about. While the actions of a few were heinous and wicked, we didn’t let that deter us from healing those wounds and looking forward to a bigger, brighter future.