So it’s been a bit of a rough start to the season, I won’t deny that. We’re 0 and 2 right now, and there is no doubt that Saturday’s game against Virginia was a heartbreaker. As tough as that game was to watch, and it was even tougher for the players to experience, I think there are lessons we learned from Saturday afternoon.
1. Mauti is a beast.
Michael Mauti, senior linebacker, had a heck of a game and definitely set the tone for the Penn State defense. Finishing the game with 9 tackles, a forced fumble, and the recovery of a fourth quarter fumble, it was clear Mauti meant business. It is well known on campus that Mauti started off the season looking to show the world what Penn State really is and to silence everyone bad-mouthing our school. It was clear after the game Saturday, that Penn State isn’t going to sit back and let others walk all over us, no matter the score. Saturday showed that for any opponent facing the entire force of Michael Mauti running towards him, there is no doubt, that player will be on his back in seconds.
2. The importance of a kicker is clear.
With just seconds left in the game, the ball sat on the 42 yard line. Sam Ficken, sophomore kicker, jogged onto the field as all Penn Staters watching the game, put their faith in him. Unfortunately, it had not been a great game for Ficken as he was 1 for 4 in terms of field goals. As soon as his foot hit the ball, it was obvious the very sharp curve on the arc meant no field goal and a loss for Penn State. Penn State fans everywhere felt slightly depressed while staring blankly at the TV; it seemed like our win was taken away from us…like so many other things in the past 12 months.
The most important point I think we all have to realize is that football players have bad days just like the rest of us. Yes, Ficken had a really bad day, but let’s be honest, winning a football game shouldn’t just come down to the kicker. We should have been able to finish it at the 20-yard line instead of getting to fourth down and relying on a field goal. Football is a team sport. When we lose, we can’t blame one person. What if Robinson had caught the pass thrown by Bench in the end zone? Many would argue that was a pretty easy pass to catch, but these guys aren’t perfect. They are college football players and they’re going to make mistakes; we can’t blame one guy for an entire team’s loss. Everybody plays a part, so to all the people harassing Ficken on Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media, why don’t you try doing your best in a pressured situation in front of thousands of people watching and be successful? Go ahead…just try and let me know how that turns out. True Nittany Lions win as a team, and lose as a team…and do so respectfully and with class!