Penn State buries past, looks forward to Buffalo

AP Photo/York Daily Record, Chris Dunn

AP Photo/York Daily Record, Chris Dunn

 

The week that has followed the Penn State football team’s embarrassing 27-10 loss to Temple has been filled with questions. Neither the players, nor the coaching staff have been absolved from the criticism, but senior safety Jordan Lucas and the rest of the team tried to make a statement by literally burying last week’s game tape at the PSU practice fields.

“We called the team up and we just wanted to let the guys know, ‘Hey look, we’re not going to dwell on the past,'” Lucas said. “We lost the game. It was our fault. We’re going to bury this. It’s not the end of our season.”

My preview of the 2015 Penn State football team focused on questions regarding the offensive line, which was clearly the team’s biggest weakness in a game that saw starting quarterback Christian Hackenberg sacked ten times. After Saturday’s performance however, it’s clear that every aspect of the team will have to perform better if they hope to return to bowl season.

As if the loss wasn’t bad enough, the Lions got more bad news when head coach James Franklin revealed the team had lost starting linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White for the season, eliciting even more criticism of the coaching staff.

Luckily for Penn State, they’ll be hosting MAC opponent Buffalo at Beaver Stadium on Saturday in a game which Vegas pegs the disheartened Lions as 18-point favorites.

There are many more questions to be answered regarding the current state of the PSU football program. Even a blowout win on Saturday won’t tell us much. But if the Lions struggle against Buffalo, or god forbid actually lose the game, the heat on James Franklin at his coaching staff will reach a level perhaps unforeseen in program history.

The time for Franklin and the Lions to get back on track is now. A losing season, combined with drastically harming Hackenberg’s laudy NFL draft status could set the program back for years to come. We’ll see if the team can make a small step forward on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 12:00 p.m.

 

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