James Franklin Penn State 2

James Franklin started his postgame press conference by remarking “I started the game at 46 years old and ended it at 51.” I think we all lost a few years on this win. Or, at the least gained a few gray hairs.

Appalachian State is nothing if not exciting. Every time I felt like I could relax App State showed us they were very much still in it to win it. I’m not sure I breathed until I saw Coach Franklin shake Coach Satterfield’s hand. I think I’m still calming down. Good. Ness.

I should have been remembering Michigan, Tennessee, Wake Forest every second of that game. Do not underestimate the Mountaineers.

Possibly our team should have remembered the same. A two touchdown lead is still no time to relax and it appeared we did so twice. There went my fingernails. All that work we did last season to prove we weren’t a “second half team” was lost, at least among my fellow viewing party attendees, with a 10-7 score at the end of the first quarter. Blood pressure elevated.

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I know we all want to tear this game apart and fret about the season’s future. I try to watch my judgement as I’ve never coached football and I don’t think I’d make a good analyst. My husband on the other hand has a knack for saying exactly what the commentators say about two second before they say it. It’s a skill that’s both impressive and maddening. I’m more of an ostrich type. If the game is not going well I’d rather no one say a thing. I’ve been known to hit mute on the TV just so I don’t have to hear the rehashing, the side comments, the “unbiased” opinions. I suppose it helps most people relax if they can analyze the team’s choices and mistakes. Me, I’ve got my head in the sand watching the game alone with no sound.

And let me say this to Matt Millen: Dude, relax. You’re a Penn State alum for crying out loud. Can you NOT publicly announce that you’re rooting against us? You’re supposed to be impartial. Even if you’re overcompensating, it’s unbecoming.

To the far more loyal rest of us: We’ve looked worse in season openers and gone on to have great seasons. This one puts a W is in the books. A hard earned W with ample teachable moments. A motivating W. A W that feels like sweet relief, however fleeting.

What you and I need are some deep breaths and maybe a little yoga to keep us calm until we meet the dreaded Panthers. We can relax knowing that this week in practice our Nittany Lions won’t.

Dawn graduated from Penn State in 2002. As a student, she never missed a football game. She camped out for front row seats before it was cool and danced in Thon. She currently lives outside of Philadelphia. She enjoys teaching, yoga, and being a new mom.

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