Five Things We Learned: Washington
Penn State concluded the 2017 season with a 35-28 over the Washington Huskies in the Fiesta Bowl. The Nittany Lions were able to hold the Huskies’ late push to finish as Fiesta Bowl champions. Here are five things that we learned from the victory in Glendale:
1. Trace McSorley will contend for the Heisman in 2018
While Saquon Barkley garnered much of the attention this season, Trace McSorley put up great numbers this season and will be the undisputed star of the team in 2018. McSorley threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns while adding another 60 on the ground. McSorley has been underrated by media, but without a doubt, he has been a major part of Penn State going 22-5 over the past two seasons. With Barkley more than likely entering the NFL Draft, watch for McSorley to put up even bigger numbers to lead Penn State as he could be a finalist for the Heisman next season.
2. The torch has been passed from Saquon Barkley to Miles Sanders
The expectation is that Barkley will enter the NFL Draft and become a top-five pick next May, which leaves the No. 1 running back position to Miles Sanders. Sanders was a five-star recruit in his own right but has had to sit behind Barkley for two years. With Barkley likely leaving, Sanders has the ability to be a star in Ricky Rahne’s offense. While Sanders didn’t have the greatest numbers against Washington, with only 15 yards on six carries, he did add a touchdown. Penn State shouldn’t expect Sanders to be Saquon Barkley next season, but given his ability, Sanders should do just fine replacing a Nittany Lion legend.
3. Ricky Rahne will be an excellent Offensive Coordinator
With the departure of Joe Moorhead to be the head coach of Mississippi State, many wondered who would replace him as offensive coordinator. Coach Franklin chose to promote passing game coordinator Ricky Rahne. Franklin and the staff have spoken highly of Rahne and had high expectations for him as OC. Rahne faced a tough test in his first game against Washington as the Huskies have one of the best defenses in college football. However, Rahne called a great game as the Nittany Lions totaled 545 yards of total offense on the best defense in the Pac 12. With the returning talent and development of younger players, Penn State looks to boast one of the best offenses again in 2018.
4. The Senior class will be remembered in Penn State history
The seniors for Penn State this year will go down as legends in the program’s glorious history. This class included many stars such as Mike Gesicki, DaeSean Hamilton, Jason Cabinda and Marcus Allen just to name a few. This was Franklin’s first recruiting class and will go down as one of the best in program history. These players deserve much credit for turning Penn State football around and back to being a national power. Penn State was at a real low spot when these players were freshmen, but now they leave with back to back New Year’s Six appearances and 11 win seasons. They have effectively put Penn State back on the national stage, where it belongs.
5. Penn State football in 2018 could be special
This season may leave fans thinking “What If?” But 2018 could be another special season in Happy Valley. With tons of returning talent in McSorley, Juwan Johnson, Sanders, Shareef Miller, and more to pair with the No. 4 recruiting class in the country led by three Five-star recruits, Penn State’s roster will be loaded once again.
While Penn State faced a tough schedule this season, the road to a Big Ten championship looks more manageable in 2018. While road games against Pittsburgh and Michigan will be tough, the Nittany Lions get to face Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Iowa at Beaver Stadium where they haven’t lost at in two seasons. With a loaded roster and several chances to impress the College Football Playoff Committee in front of the best fans in the country, Penn State looks to be among the elite programs in 2018.
Camden Tofil is a freshman majoring in advertising. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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