Seniors making impact
Nearly two dozen Penn State players will take part in the final home game of their careers Saturday against Maryland, and coach James Franklin gushed over what those players have been able to accomplish.
“You look at their record, the senior class, I think all things considered, maybe one of the most impressive senior classes in school history,” Franklin said.
“You look at what this senior class has been able to do in the Big Ten era. If you just take the Big Ten era, you look at what we’ve been able to do and what they have been able to do over the last three years, this year and the previous two years in the Big Ten era, pretty impressive.”
Sure enough, these seniors all were part of one of the most amazing and unexpected seasons in PSU history in 2016.
The Nittany Lions came out of nowhere to win the Big Ten title and earn a trip to the Rose Bowl, where they lost an epic game to USC, 52-49.
Then last year, the Lions went to the Fiesta Bowl and defeated Washington to finish ranked in the top 10 for the second straight season.
Penn State has a chance for a third consecutive season with at least 10 wins this year, and with a victory Saturday would be in good shape for a spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl game.
“I’d say one of the biggest things I’d like the senior class to be remembered as is a group of guys who are extremely hard-working,” senior safety Nick Scott said. “(We) were a huge part of this growing process, this rebuilding process of putting Penn State back as a top contender or in the conversation each year,” Scott added.
A lot of players will be emotional coming out of the tunnel onto the field for the game, and Scott said he “might be up there” among the most emotional.
Quarterback Trace McSorley says it’s good to allow yourself to get caught up in the emotional moment, but only briefly.
“I think the best way that I think you can handle it is just when those emotions kind of happen, just let yourself experience that for a couple seconds here and there — 10, 15 seconds, whatever it might be — and then be able to refocus,” McSorley said.
Bowen to Utah
Former PSU linebacker Manny Bowen, who found himself in trouble numerous times with the Lions, announced Wednesday that he will transfer and play his final year of college football at Utah.
Bowen posted this to his Twitter account in announcing his decision:
“Have you ever realized how small the rear view mirror is compared to the windshield? No matter what happens I will never have any regrets, and look back on the past. My eyes are focused on the road ahead of me.
“I am thankful for these experiences that have allowed me to grow and shape me in many different ways. I embrace all challenges that come my way. With this being said I am excited to start this new chapter in my life.”
Bowen should be able to provide experience and make an immediate impact at Utah, provided he can avoid any of the troubles that cut short his Penn State tenure.