No matter how hard we try, it’s never easy saying goodbye and this year is no different from any other. It’s Senior Day in Happy Valley, hands down our saddest day of the year as we bid farewell to 2018 and a handful of seniors that have meant so much. They helped us cross that bridge of unknown territory and led the Nittany Lions back into the familiar realm of Top 15 battles and chasing championships, far sooner than anyone had ever predicted.
They raised expectations beyond our wildest dreams and now they stand at the brink of a three-year run unlike any other we’ve seen since the glory years of Penn State Football in the early-to-mid 80s. Beyond the gridiron, they maintained and fortified Success With Honor, which truly was our biggest question heading into life without Joe. No, it’s never easy saying goodbye but when we finally do on Saturday, it’s safe to say this senior class has left us in a much better position than we were in when they arrived.
There were no ballyhooed five-star recruits to speak of when they came in, mostly three-stars and a scattering of fours, and yet, they leave as the glue that held it all together when it was predicted that we would fall face first into the mud. We did anything but, thanks to them. Trace McSorley may hold all the records but he’ll be the first to tell you about all the blood, sweat, and tears put in over the course of five years and that none of it would have been possible without the likes of Nick Scott, DeAndre Thompkins, Koa Farmer, Amani Oruwariye, Chasz Wright, Mark Allen, and others. Behind the scenes, Jonathan Thomas, Jake Cooper, Jason Vranic, Joe Arcangelo, Frank DiLeo, Tyler Shoop, Zach Simpson, and Christopher Welde were no less integral to putting Penn State football back on the map. Off the field, Charlie Shuman was an inspiration within the community.
Their swan song in Blue and White may not have gone quite as planned but once again, we have high expectations because of them. Nevertheless, Maryland comes a knocking and a Peach Bowl bid rests in the balance. Emotions will be at an all-time high, but through all the goodbyes, there’s one game left to be played on our home turf. It’s either ‘Fear The Turtle’ or Turtle Soup on Senior Day in Happy Valley and even with the big scare they gave the Buckeyes a week ago, the Terrapins simply do not stand a shot. No friends, it’s never easy saying goodbye but Trace and the mighty Lions will give us all reason to smile: Penn State 37, Turtle Soup 13.