STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) – The start of Penn State’s 130th football season is fast approaching.
Last season, the Nittany Lions finished third in the Big Ten East with just two losses for an overall 11-2 record, going 7-2 in conference play. Their two losses were to No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan.
The Nittany Lions capped their season with a Rose Bowl victory downing Utah in the premiere event 35-21.
James Franklin returns at the helm for the 2023-24 season, entering his 10th season as head coach of Penn State. Under Franklin’s guidance, the Nittany Lions have finished in the top 12 of the final College Football Playoff rankings in five of the last seven seasons, including coming in at No. 11 last year.
Franklin has led his team to bowl games every year except for the 2020 season. Franklin’s overall record at the helm of Penn State is 78-36.
The 2023-24 Penn State football schedule is as follows:
|Date||Opponent||Time||Special Event||Result & Record|
|9/2||vs. West Virginia||7:30 p.m.||Helmet Stripe||W (1-0)|
|9/9||vs. Delaware||12 p.m.||THON Game||W (2-0)|
|9/16||at Illinois||12 p.m.||W (3-0)|
|9/23||vs. Iowa||7:30 p.m.||White Out||W (4-0)|
|10/14||vs. UMass||3:30 p.m.||Homecoming|
|10/21||at Ohio State||TBD|
|10/28||vs. Indiana||TBD||Military Appreciation|
|11/11||vs. Michigan||12 p.m.||Stripe Out|
|11/18||vs. Rutgers||TBD||Senior Day, All-U Day|
|11/24||at Michigan State||7:30 p.m.|
Last season was Penn State’s second winning-record season in a row. The 2020 season saw Penn State end with a 4-5 record, their first losing record since 2004.
Penn State’s quarterback situation still remains a mystery following the departure of last year’s leader Sean Clifford, who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers. At the Big Ten media days on July 26, Franklin stated there is still ongoing competition for the spot.
Drew Allar is entering his sophomore year and appeared in ten games last season. In total, he went 35-for-60 for 344 yards and four touchdowns. Allar also ran for 52 yards on 18 attempts, completing one rushing score.
Beau Pribula was a redshirt freshman last season. The York native was the first player in Central York High School history to be a three-year captain and led the Panthers to their first District III Title and State Championship appearances. Pribula was Player of the Year for Pennsylvania as a junior and a senior.
The 2023-24 team roster currently consists of 22 freshmen and 24 redshirt freshmen.
As for the starters, Penn State lost Clifford, center Juice Scruggs, tight end Brenon Strange, wide receivers Mitchell Tinsley and Parker Washington, safety Ji’Ayir Brown, defensive tackle PJ Mustipher, cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and defensive end Nick Tarburton.
Key pieces of the offense returning are running back Nick Singleton, wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith, and offensive linemen Olu Fashanu, Hunter Nourzad, Caedan Wallace and Sal Wormley. On defense, the Nittany Lions will be led by defensive end Adisa Isaac, defensive tackle Hakeem Beamon, linebacker Curtis Jacobs, Abdul Carter and Tyler Elsdon, cornerback Kalen King and safety Keaton Ellis.
The Nittany Lions will begin their quest for greatness this season when they take the field for the first time in eight months on Sept. 2.