We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Penn State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Wednesday, Jan. 4. Let’s get started.
Is PSU ready to visit ‘stratosphere?’
Tuesday was a day to reflect on just how wonderful Penn State’s ride was this season, and to consider just how great things might be in the future.
The declaration by departing DE Evan Schwan following Monday’s 52-49 loss to USC in the Rose Bowl was typical. Per Mark Wogenrich of The (Allentown) Morning Call, Schwan said the following:
“I see this as a stepping stone that’s going to launch the program into the stratosphere. I see Penn State being a front-runner, top-10, top-five team for the next decade.”
The Lions went 11-2 this season, their highest win total since 2009 and just the fifth time they have won 11 or more games since joining the Big Ten in 1993. They reached the Rose Bowl for the first time in eight years.
As noted by Wogenrich and others (particularly Derek Levarse of the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader), it’s possible that just everybody will be back next year. Schwan was one of only four seniors to start the Rose Bowl, though WR Chris Godwin and DE Garrett Sickels could enter the NFL draft.
The main cogs, QB Trace McSorley and RB Saquon Barkley, are just sophomores – though Barkley will almost certainly play just one more collegiate season before heading off to the pros. Certainly, he should be on the short list of Heisman Trophy contenders come next fall.
Levarse pointed out that quarterbacks almost always show marked improvement in their second seasons under offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead – and McSorley set school single-season records for yardage and touchdown passes this season.
Then there is the team-wide motivation born of falling just short – of the College Football Playoff, of victory in the Rose Bowl, etc. Per Wogenrich, Barkley said the following:
“Don’t forget that feeling when the confetti comes out and USC storms the field. Don’t forget about that feeling you have in your stomach, that disgusting taste you have in your mouth. Use that motivation in the offseason to challenge each other to be back here, or in an even better spot, next year.”
Injuries are always a potential issue. So too is the schedule. Note that in 2017 PSU plays Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State on consecutive weekends beginning on Oct. 21, the latter two on the road. Nebraska also returns to the schedule, the next-to-last week of the season.
So while they will be fortified by another strong recruiting class – one that includes 5-star DB Lamont Wade, an early enrollee – nothing is guaranteed.
Sort of like a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter of a big bowl game.
Former Penn State guard John Urschel, who just concluded his third season with the Baltimore Ravens, was named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” in science.
Forbes noted that the 25-year-old Urschel, who only began pursuing his Ph. D. in mathematics at MIT in the last year, has published six peer-reviewed papers in his area of study and has three more ready for review.
Men’s hoops team visits Michigan
Penn State, coming off Sunday’s road victory at Rutgers, visits Michigan on Wednesday.
Peyton Banks scored 20 points and Tony Carr had 15 in the 60-47 victory over the Scarlet Knights, the third victory in four games for the Lions (9-6, 1-1 Big Ten).
Shep Garner leads the team in scoring (13.2), while Banks checks in at 12.2 points a game. Mike Watkins’ 47 blocked shots are the Big Ten’s second-highest total.
Michigan is 0-1 in the conference, 10-4 overall.
Also in the Land of 10
- Michigan reportedly agrees to a five-year deal with offensive coordinator Tim Drevno
- No. 13 Wisconsin hands No. 25 Indiana another home loss
- Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner rips the school’s administration after the firing of Tracy Claeys