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Prugar’s 3-and-Out: On to Bowl Prep for Penn State

Abdul Carter makes a play against MSU. Penn State Athletics

Penn State went undefeated in trophy games this season when they took down Michigan State Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium. This time it was the Land-Grant Trophy that was secured and will be displayed near the Governor’s Victory Bell somewhere within the Lasch Building.

1862 followers, my favorite number! pic.twitter.com/IeEpkqXADz

— Land-Grant Trophy (@LandGrantTrophy) November 26, 2022

It was the perfect way to wrap up a season that was oddly unsatisfying to many, but more than what was expected by most.

The Nittany Lions are off to a bowl that seemingly gets better with each loss to a team ahead of them and so much more can still happen as the conference championships get underway. Until then, there’s still much to talk about!

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

Penn State lost two games this season one each to Ohio State and Michigan. Both of those teams have been solidly among the top-four for most of the season and the Wolverines nearly solidified a playoff berth with their rout over the Buckeyes.

Outside of those two games, the Nittany Lions did what they needed to do: win. Some games were ugly: Northwestern. Some were full of sweat: Purdue. Others were out of hand: Rutgers, Ohio and Minnesota And others were just impressive: Auburn, Maryland and Michigan State.

And we can’t forget about Indiana or Michigan State, but after two middling years where mediocrity was where the Nittany Lions stood, they’re back to being among the top tier teams in the country.

Does Penn State have a long way to go to get to the top? No, but the Nittany Lions need to not just compete with Ohio State and Michigan, but beat them regularly. For now though, Penn State is back to double-digit wins and heading to a respectable bowl.

Life isn’t too bad after all.

THE PREDATOR

The FS1 broadcast mentioned freshman linebacker Abdul Carter as The Predator and there probably isn’t a better fitting name.

His prey, of course, is opposing ball carriers and quarterbacks and man, it seems like he is foaming at the mouth every down to make a play. And usually he does.

The last time Penn State got this level of play from a freshman linebacker the guy’s name was Micah Parsons and well, you see what he’s capable of on Sundays.

Is Carter at that level yet? No, but he’s playing much better as a freshman than Parsons did, though, that’s not to say he’s better by any means. His skillsets are being used and taking advantage of by Manny Diaz a lot more than Brent Pry ever did for Parsons as a freshman.

The ceiling for Carter is incredibly high and barring injury, he will go down as the next best thing to wear the sticks for the Nittany Lions

THE SEAN CLIFFORD EXPERIENCE

The Sean Clifford Experience has been one of the most fascinating adventures over the past four seasons bookended with 10-win campaigns and possibly another New Year’s Six bowl game.

It has culminated in record books being rewritten, pundits being hushed and finally, another successful Penn State season.

Clifford went out on a high note in his final stanza at Beaver Stadium throwing for 202 yards and four touchdowns against the Spartans with his final pass in front of the Penn State faithful being a touchdown to KeAndre Lambert-Smith.

His first pass attempt was a touchdown to Brandon Polk against Pitt in 2018 and 83 touchdowns later, Clifford will be gearing up one final time in a Penn State uniform in the bowl game.

JAMES FRANKLIN’S HOT SEAT METER

Right now, the meter is still off.

The meter might be off, but two coaches thought to be big time players should Franklin get canned both were hired or are soon to be hired by Big Ten West schools in Matt Rhule (Nebraska) and Luke Fickell (Wisconsin) over the weekend.

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