Pat Freiermuth

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Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth announces his return in 2020

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Not long after Penn State put the finishing touches on a 10-win regular season with a sluggish win against Rutgers, Penn State got some very good news for the 2020 season. Tight end Pat Freiermuth announced he will return to the Nittany Lions for another season.

Freiermuth announced his decision with a statement on his Twitter account on Saturday evening.

“In the past couple weeks, it has come to light that I am able to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft,” Freiermuth said, referring to recent stories confirming he would be eligible for the NFL Draft if he chose to declare early. “After discussing the opportunity with my family, coaches and other loved ones, I have decided to return to Pen State for my junior year.”

“The brotherhood and family atmosphere in this program is something that I am not ready to leave,” Freierrmuth said. “The culture Coach [James Franklin] and the staff have created here is something very special and I love being part of it.”

The return of Freiermuth is a big one for Penn State. Considered one of the top tight ends in the Big Ten, if not the country despite being left off the semifinalist list for the John Mackey Award, Freiermuth had 41 catches for 468 yards and seven touchdowns this season for the Nittany Lions, all good for second on the team behind speedy wide receiver KJ Hamler.

No. 2 Ohio State clinches Big Ten East with 28-17 win against No. 8 Penn State

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For the first time all season, No. 2 Ohio State (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten) was challenged into the fourth quarter. And once it did, the Buckeyes sealed the deal with a 28-17 victory over No. 8 Penn State (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten). The win clinched the Big Ten East Division championship for Ohio State and continues to put Ohio State on the inside track to a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Penn State’s defense created a spark in the third quarter with two straight fumbles that led to Penn State points. After Penn State running back Journey Brown capped Penn State’s best drive of the game with a touchdown run, the defense knocked the ball loose from JK Dobbins on the first play on the ensuing possession. After a mad scramble for the ball, Penn State recovered at 12-yard line. Backup quarterback Will Levis completed a pass to Pat Freiermuth to bring the ball just short of the goal line, and Levis took the ball in himself on the following play to quickly bring Penn State within a touchdown. Fumble issues continued for Ohio State on the next possession when Justin Fields lost the football just before his knee touched the ground on the third play of the drive. Another Penn State fumble recovery led to a field goal to trim the Ohio State lead to 21-17.

Penn State’s starting quarterback, Sean Clifford, left the game in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury. Levis finished off the game at quarterback for the Nittany Lions. Fields was bange dup late in the fourth quarter but jogged off the field on his own.

Chase Young returned from a two-game suspension and became the school leader for the most sacks in a season. After tying the school mark with half a sack in the first half, Young moved into sole possession of first place in the school’s record books with half a sack in the third quarter on a key third down, moving him to 14.5 sacks this season. Young continued to have a significant impact on the game with non-stop pressure in the backfield. He was, decisively, the best player in the game.

Ohio State will have a date in Indianapolis reserved for the Big Ten championship game in two weeks. The Buckeyes will face either Minnesota or Wisconsin. The Big Ten West division may have to be decided next week in a head-to-head matchup between the Gophers and Badgers. Minnesota will host Wisconsin. Ohio State has already faced Wisconsin and defeated them handily. Ohio State has not played Minnesota this season.

The regular season will come to an end next week. For Ohio State, a chance to put together a 12-0 season heading to the Big Ten championship game will be on the line against That Team Up North when the Buckeyes head to Ann Arbor to face Michigan. Penn State will have a favorable draw to end their regular season with a win with a home game against Rutgers to close out the schedule.

No. 14 Kentucky holds off rally by No. 12 Penn State for Citrus Bowl victory

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Despite a furious effort by Trace McSorley on a broken foot, No. 12 Penn State (9-4) was unable to dig out of a big hole in the second half as No. 14 Kentucky (10-3) celebrated a rare 10-win season with a 27-24 victory in the VRBO Citrus Bowl. A record-setting day by running back Benny Snell and a dominating performance by linebacker Josh Allen were key in the victory for the Wildcats.

Snell rushed for a game-high 140 yards and two touchdowns to lead the charge. Kentucky’s offense was not a threat at all until the second half when Snell provided a much-needed charge after a tough first half. Kentucky bewildered Penn State to build a 27-7 lead late in the third quarter.

In that third quarter, Trace McSorley was reportedly being taken out of the game with a broken foot. But just moments after that information was relayed by Penn State beat reporters following an update from a Penn State spokesperson, McSorley appeared to talk his way right back onto the field with Penn State down 20-7. That drive did not last long and it did not end well for McSorley as he tossed up an interception to Lonnie Johnson, who returned the football to the Kentucky 34-yard line. After a quick 54-yard pass from Terry Wilson to Lynn Bowden Jr., Snell rushed up the middle for a 12-yard touchdown run to push Kentucky’s lead to 27-7.

The touchdown run by Snell also set the new Kentucky career rushing record. Snell passed the previous school record held by Sonny Collins, who held the record of 3,835 career rushing yards for 44 years in Lexington.

But after going down 27-7, McSorley and Penn State somehow came to life. Penn State scored on a short McSorley run early in the fourth quarter and McSorley completed a touchdown pass to tight end Pat Freiermuth with nine minutes to play in the fourth quarter to cut the Kentucky lead to 27-20. Nearly five minutes later, Penn State settled for a field goal by Jake Pinegar to trim the lead to three points for Kentucky rather than take a chance on a fourth down play. Kentucky would drain the clock on the ensuing possession with Snell handling things on the ground and forcing Penn State to use their three timeouts. The Wildcats did have to give the ball back to the Nittany Lions, with one second left on the clock after a punt.

This was Kentucky’s first time winning 10 games in a single season since 1977. The goal of hitting the 10-win mark was not one taken lightly by Kentucky either, as the Wildcats were extremely motivated to do something rarely done in this program’s history. It was part of the reason why a player like linebacker Josh Allen, with all the hardware to show off and nothing more to prove, decided to play in the bowl game when the trend is for potential first-round draft prospects to sit out of what many consider to be a meaningless bowl game. But this wasn’t a meaningless bowl for the Wildcats. This was a bar the team wanted to clear, and now they have.

What does it mean moving forward? For Mark Stoops, the bar has been set and now he must continue to work recruiting and player development to ensure there isn’t a dropoff in 2019. Doing so may prove to be difficult, but the Kentucky football program has been taking small steps forward every season under Stoops and it reached new heights this season. In a division that is already pretty challenging and could potentially get tougher, Kentucky does not look like it might be ready to start taking backseats in the division mix just yet.

Penn State falls shy of winning 10 or more games in three straight seasons for the first time since 1980-1982.

No. 12 Penn State and Trace McSorley end season on winning note and block Maryland from bowl berth

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No. 12 Penn State (9-3, 6-3) ended their regular season on a very positive note, one the Nittany Lions hope will be enough to receive an invite back to a New Years Six bowl game in a couple of weeks. Penn State’s 38-3 win against Maryland (5-7, 3-6 Big Ten) saw the senior class go out in winning fashion and brought an official close to the year for the Terrapins. Maryland needed a win in order to become eligible for a postseason bowl berth this year.

Playing in his final home game for Penn State, senior quarterback Trace McSorley made the most of it by becoming the school’s all-time leader in completions and adding his 21st career game with a passing and rushing touchdown in the same game. Mcsorley passed the previous school record for most all-time completions set by Christian Hackenberg in the first half and continued to rack up completions to go over 700 for his career. Mcsorley rushed for two touchdowns in the first half and threw his first and only touchdown pass of the game in the fourth quarter to tight end Pat Freiermuth. McSorley finished the day with 230 passing yards without an interception and 64 rushing yards with three total touchdowns before Tommy Stevens entered the game to relieve the Penn State starter.

Maryland’s offense appeared to have run out of steam after last week’s game at home against Ohio State. Anthony McFarland was limited to just 12 yards on six carries a week after a career day. Maryland’s entire running game was held down well by Penn State. The Terps had just 70 rushing yards in the game. Quarterback Tyrell Pigrome picked up just 13 rushing yards and was without a touchdown in the game. Penn State doubled the total offensive production of Maryland, 560-255 as well. It just appeared as though Maryland was out of gas on the road at the end of an emotionally exhausting season, and Penn State playing at home was a bad matchup for that to be the case.

Penn State will now sit and wait to see just what their bowl outlook may look like. Penn State began the week ranked just high enough to be eligible for consideration for an at-large bid to a New Years Six bowl game, but a handful of results this week could pose a threat to the possibility Penn State could play in a New Years Six bowl game (Washington State and Michigan losing), although a clearer picture should be painted on Tuesday night when the next College Football Playoff selection committee rankings are released. Penn State should still be in a spot for consideration, but it is a bit more clouded at the moment. If Penn State misses out on a New Years Six bowl game, the Nittany Lions could still be playing on January 1 with a spot in the Citrus Bowl a strong possibility if passed over for an at-large invitation. Ohio State being selected for the College Football Playoff could help Penn State’s case as Michigan would head to the Rose Bowl in the Big Ten’s tied-in spot.

While Penn State awaits its bowl fate, Maryland will continue to figure out just what happens next with the program. Matt Canada remains the interim coach as the program will now be able to focus on a coaching search to name a new permanent head coach. Despite the loss to Penn State, Canada should be among the list of candidates Maryland interviews for the job unless the school decided to wipe the slate completely clean of the DJ Durkin era and start over. Maryland’s 2019 season will begin on August 31, 2019 with a home game against Howard, followed by a home date against Syracuse.

Michigan flexing on Penn State, pitching shutout in Big House

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When on the road against a top five team, you simply cannot make as many mistakes as Penn State did in the first half against Michigan. As a result, Penn State finds themselves trailing the Wolverines 14-0 in Ann Arbor, and it doesn’t really feel that close of a game. Failures on third downs, penalties, questionable coaching decisions and an inability to take advantage of opportunities have burned Penn State after one half, while Michigan continues to stick to their identity of power running and defense to hold the upper hand.

Penn State came out swinging on the first play of the game with Trace McSorley completing a 25-yard pass to tight end Pat Freiermuth to get the Nittany Lions to midfield, but back-to-back sacks by Chase Winovich and Josh Uche forced Penn State to punt the ball from their own 36-yard line. Penn State also had to burn a timeout on the punt too.

Karan Higdon then went to work on the ground, carrying the ball on each of Michigan’s first three plays with gains of one, 10, and 50 to get into the red zone. Quarterback Shea Patterson would be the player to get the Wolverines on the board a few plays later with a keeper off to the left side of the line.

Penn State appeared to create a great opportunity early in the second quarter with a blocked field goal attempt by former Penn State commitment Quinn Nordin. A return for a touchdown was taken off the board due to nullifying chop block penalties by Michigan and Penn State, but the Nittany Lions took over at the 35-yard line and quickly advanced to midfield following a pass interference penalty on the Wolverines. But one play later, McSorley and running back Miles Sanders had confusion on a handoff and Winovich pounced on a fumbled ball out of McSorley’s hands.

Michigan stuck with their running game to do most of the damage from there and Patterson ended a 10-play drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to an open Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 14-0 lead.

Penn State didn’t pick up a third down conversion until the final two and a half minutes of the second quarter. At that point, Michigan held Penn State to -2 rushing yards while the Wolverines had 122 yards on the ground in the first half. Later in the half, Penn State appeared to be threatening to at least get some point son the scoreboard before halftime, but a missed wide open pass by McSorley to his intended receiver (DeAndre Thompkins) for an easy touchdown was followed by a sack on third down by Jordan Glasgow to move the ball well out of field goal position.

Michigan appears to be in great shape at the half, but Penn State is not buried just yet. If the Wolverines continue to pound away though, they could walk away with a big win against Penn State.