There are no moral victories in these parts anymore. Those days are long gone. A loss is a loss all day long, much like a win was a win a week ago. That said, my only thought as the clock struck zero in Columbus was how much love I have for this squad, how much pride came pounding off my chest in the aftermath and how I have nothing but mad respect for our Nittany Lions. Penn State stood toe to toe with a bully, weathered the storm and punched those Buckeyes square in the jaw on their own turf. In the end, inexperience did us in but we played hard when most others would have withered away and called it quits down 21 to 0.

Our defense made them earn every inch and every yard, and when the going got tough, they rose up like the Lions they are. Give credit where credit is due, OSU is the most complete team in the country and we all saw that firsthand on Saturday, but they had a dogfight on their hands with us. From the pregame skirmish at midfield down to the final sack of a quarterback that was once committed to us, the Nittany Lions never backed down and never tucked their tails. A loss is a loss all day long but there’s not a single reason those players or the coaches should hang their heads this week.

We don’t give out game balls and prizes after one of those few and far between losses, but if I did, Lamont Wade (aka Beast Mode) would be front and center. Funny how that pesky transfer portal worked out in the long run, as #38 ultimately decided to return and made life a living inferno for that high-octane offense our D was up against. Micah Parsons (who coincidently was once heavily favored to wear scarlet and gray and even named his dog Brutus before deciding to stay in-state) made his presence felt. Garrett Taylor led all with 13 tackles. Yetur Gross-Matos racked up 2 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss, and a secondary that’s been through the ringer lately more than held its own against their speedy receivers. Now, how about Will Levis? You can’t fault the kid for inexperience and it was he who hammered us back into contention. An untimely interception may have ultimately rattled his confidence just enough to give the home team the edge, but up until that point, his play was legendary. There is no controversy between him and a banged up Sean Clifford to speak of but it was pure delight watching #7 run roughshod over helpless Buckeyes for a brief moment.

So it ends again. The Evil Empire squeaked out another one, but that gap is closing fast between our two teams and they know it. You can gift them a star quarterback who was on someone else’s campus a year ago and they can cut suspensions in half to Heisman contenders just in time for us, but we will still come out and roar. In the end, we did not get the outcome we all wanted but it sure wasn’t for lack of effort, grit, or fight. So do not hang your heads Penn State fans, hold them high and wear your best blue and white gear with pride. A loss is a loss all day long and when it comes to the Buckeyes, those L’s sting more than most. In the end, what we gained was mad respect across the board from all those that know what’s being built in Happy Valley, brick by brick, and one day soon, it’s going to be enough to bring that Evil Empire down once and for all.

 

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!

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