Photo Credit: Tom Mairs (www.tommairs.com)

Photo Credit: Tom Mairs (www.tommairs.com)

Ladies and gents, Nittany Lions of all ages, it’s the moment we’ve all been patiently waiting for. It’s time to rid our mouths of the foul taste of defeat and replace it with the sweet taste of revenge. This is not the Penn State football team of last September, but a new breed of Nittany Lions climbing up the college football ranks. One that currently rests at No. 4 in the weekly polls. They have dubbed this one the ‘Keystone Classic’ once again, but make no mistake about it, it’s the Battle of Pennsylvania with supremacy of state at stake. It’s Penn State versus Pitt round two, and this time it’s on our own home turf!

Here kitty, kitty, kitty…

Round one was a heartbreaker in Pittsburgh. A game that slipped through our fingertips, quite literally. A second half flurry just wasn’t quite enough as Penn State dropped a 42-39 decision in the first of a four-game renewal. In the end, head coach James Franklin went for the jugular rather than playing to tie, only to see Trace McSorley’s pass fall into the hands of the enemy, deep in the end zone. As excruciating as the loss was, it was the first glimpse of what was to come out of the new Joe Moorhead offense and the birth of an identity that would carry the Nittany Lions all the way to Pasadena by the time it was all said and done. Bad news for Pitt, that was then and this is now and McSorley is no longer little known. If last week’s game is any indication, the Nittany Lions have cleaned up their first-half struggles and The Wizard has a solid grip on the magic touch that helped guide us back to a championship level.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty…

If last week was any indication, Saquon Barkley is all business and on a mission like never before. That spells big trouble for anyone that stands in his way. Last September, this year’s Heisman-leader strapped Penn State on his shoulders and almost single-handedly willed us to victory. Rarely have we seen King ‘Quon without his trademark smile, but last September I distinctly recall him playing with anger and fury. His five touchdowns fell just short of a win, but if that chip carries over, the Panthers may not even want to waste their time making the journey east towards Happy Valley.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty…

HP-Banner-Nike-sideline-8_17

Last September, Mike Gesicki was still shrugging off the taunts of ‘stone hands’ from his own fans and the O-Line was still a unit haunted by its recent past. Juwan Johnson was just a tall guy standing on the sideline, the Nittany Lions hadn’t had a punt returned for a touchdown since Derrick Williams and Captain Cabinda was dressed in street clothes nursing a hand injury. If week one is any indication, and it is, Big Mike G has crossed over from Redemption King into The Intimidator territory and the O-Line has turned the corner from football follies into massive road graders. Juwan Johnson is anything but a sideline spectator, DeAndre Thompkins ended the long drought by taking his first punt to the house and Captain Cabinda is ready to rock, old school neck roll and all. All of which helps spell major trouble for our Western PA rivals.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty…

In my first Preseason Predictor last week I alluded to the ‘danger that lies ahead,’ a subtle nod to the enemy that got one up on us last September. The more I thought and prepped for this week’s edition, though, the clearer it became that the real danger stands at their feet instead, ready to pounce. They’ve been lured into a Lion’s Den of 107k screamin’ strong fans with nothing but pride and revenge consuming their thoughts for nearly a year now. The names they face may ring a familiar tune, but they are anything but the squad they faced a year ago in Pittsburgh. It’s no longer an offense fresh out the box, but one that’s highly fine-tuned and running on all cylinders. It’s a defense eager to shed the foul taste of handing 42 points out to the enemy and ready to prove that Penn State is much more than just an offensive juggernaut. Back then, it was easy to second guess the head coach that went for the jugular instead of playing it safe. After all, he had yet to collect his ‘signature win’ you know. My oh my, what a difference a year makes. Last week was just a tune-up as predicted. This week, we claim the sweet taste of revenge and leave no doubt which feline rules the roost in the state of Pennsylvania as Penn State rolls 41-8.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty…

Eric Herrold was born in State College and has bled Penn State Blue and White ever since. He is currently the proud owner/coordinator of the rapidly growing Facebook fanpage Nittany Nation, as well as a member of Success With Honor, the non-profit charitable organization. Eric currently resides in Richmond, Virginia spreading Penn State cheer and goodwill to all that will listen!

Pin It on Pinterest