One Last, Emotional Saturday
It’s gotten hard to keep track of all the emotionally loaded moments at Penn State football games over the past 12 months. Saturday’s season finale against Wisconsin will be another one.
This year, the annual Senior Day game carries more than the usual significance. This senior class has found itself playing out its final season under unimaginable circumstances. All could have left before the season began; nearly all stayed. Simply by not going anywhere, they achieved something like legend status among Penn State fans. The response when those guys come out of the tunnel Saturday afternoon for the final time will be memorable.
Michael Mauti most likely will make that journey on crutches. Injured in last week’s win over Indiana, Mauti may yet apply for a sixth year of eligibility and the chance to return next season. Regardless, his name is indelibly linked to this year’s senior class.
There’s concern among Penn State fans about Bill O’Brien’s future, as well, due to rumors of NFL interest and the coach’s refusal this week to speak about anything beyond the final game. The smart media take is that it’s too soon to assume anything about his intentions, but that O’Brien will have legitimate pros and cons to weigh if a chance to be an NFL head coach presents itself in the coming weeks. In the meantime, it’s something else for Penn State fans to get emotional about this week.
Ryan Jones, senior editor