Penn State football’s 2020 season has not gone how people planned at all. The team has dealt with a slew of injuries and opt outs, and is now off to an 0-3 start to the season.
The first game was one of the most dramatic finishes of the year, and really seems to have set the tone for both sides. Indiana and Penn State played a back-and-forth game, with IU scoring what looked like it would be a game-tying touchdown in the game’s final moments. Rather than kick the extra point to tie things at 35, Tom Allen went for two, and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. called his own number, stretching for the pylon.
The referees called a score on the field. It looked impossibly close on replay, and the call for Indiana’s two-point conversion, and win in regulation, stood. From there, IU has pushed up to 3-0 and is in the AP Top 10, while Penn State is winless, after falling to Ohio State and Maryland. Kirk Herbstreit says he’s “shocked” by what has transpired with the Nittany Lions so far this year.
“I’m shocked that they’re 0-3,” he said on ESPN, per 247Sports. “The Indiana game obviously could have gone either way. You know, they played well enough to win the game, but ended up losing and the fashion which they did. I think that may have took some of the wind out of their sails and then to follow it up with Ohio State and to lose that game. I personally thought after the Ohio State game, watching them play that night, you know, especially in the second half, I thought this team is going to kind of get back in order and I thought they went out, personally.”
— 247Sports (@247Sports) November 12, 2020
Herbstreit, who is in Augusta, Ga. for this weekend’s special edition of College GameDay at The Masters, believes too much is being put on quarterback Sean Clifford’s shoulders this year.
“They’ve got some issues right now. I’m very surprised that their offense just can’t – a lot of new faces – but they just can’t quite seem to put it together. The offensive line and the lack of the running game has put a lot on Sean Clifford and he’s been at times a sitting duck back there. You know, getting sacked and trying to make something happen and at times, putting the ball in just risky areas. And I think more than anything, he’s just trying to make plays. And so I’ll be interested to see how this week goes. This is not an easy game in Lincoln. Nebraska is kind of facing desperation mode of their own considering they played Ohio State and last, last week there they’re sitting there winless too.
Clifford is 69-for-122 passing for 859 yards this year, with nine touchdowns and five interceptions. He has 150 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown as well.
Penn State faces another team desperate for a win, Nebraska, on Saturday. That game in Lincoln kicks off at noon.