Fingers can be pointed all around, but Penn State now has two losses on the year after falling in nine overtimes to Illinois at home on Saturday afternoon.
Just when you thought college football could not get any wilder, the No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions lost a … nine-overtime thriller at home to a five-loss Illinois Fighting Illini team, 20-18.
While this is a huge win Bret Bielema’s program can build off, it should have never happened. Top 10 teams do not lose stupid games like this against an inferior opponent. Then again, there is no reason to have Penn State anywhere close to the top 10 after this unmitigated disaster the whole college football world watched unfold in Happy Valley. How did they lose this?
There is so much blame to go around, but these three men must take responsibility for this defeat.
Penn State football: 3 people most at fault for Illinois nine overtime loss
Mike Yurcich’s offensive game plan allowed Illinois to even have a chance
While one could argue allowing 357 rushing yards was a huge problem for the Penn State defense, Mike Yurcich did not draw up enough good plays offensively to give the Nittany Lions a chance to win. They scored one offensive touchdown all day, and that came in the first quarter. The Penn State offense was held scoreless in the second half and managed eight points in nine overtimes…
Sean Clifford was banged up, but this was his time to shine and he blew it
Though starting quarterback Sean Clifford was still dealing with an injury he suffered in the road loss to Iowa, Penn State needed him to come up big and he did not deliver. Clifford completed 19-of-34 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. While those are quality game-manager numbers, that is not what this game required. He could have been a difference-maker, but he came up short.
James Franklin showed why he is not the head coach LSU or USC needs to hire
No doubt this all falls on head coach James Franklin. Though Bielema is a worthy adversary on the other sidelines, the talent discrepancy was grossly in Penn State’s favor. For a program that has wanted nothing more than to get to Indianapolis with a shot at the playoff, this loss is beyond not acceptable. Frankly, this terrible loss may cost Franklin opportunities to go to either LSU or USC.
With this head-scratching defeat, the final nail has been driven into the Penn State playoff coffin.
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