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Penn State Football: Five Things To Watch As The Nittany Lions Face Maryland

by on November 23, 2018 2:00 PM

Penn State takes on Maryland this weekend as the Nittany Lions look to improve their bowl standing and the Terps look simply to become bowl eligible and extend a turbulent season one more game.

Maryland is coming off an overtime loss to Ohio State that probably should have been an overtime victory. Penn State is coming off a fairly unremarkable and slightly unwatchable win over Rutgers on the road. For both teams it's a meaningful contest with both having postseason hopes and pride on the line.

It might not be the highest profile game of the weekend, but there is plenty to keep an eye on as Penn State takes aim at win No.9. This is what I'm watching.

Your Job Now:

It stands to reason given the fact it's Senior Day that Koa Farmer will get the nod at linebacker, but for how long? While there are still eight quarters left in this particular season, the future is now and that means the future is Micah Parsons. So far he has looked the part more and more as the weeks have gone along. With two games left in his freshman season Saturday is another chance to take a step forward. How does Parsons look? It's an ongoing question but an important one for the future of this unit.

Feel Good:

With what amounts to a month off between this final game and the bowl, heading into a mini offseason will help everyone's mood with a Penn State win. If the Nittany Lions can score early it will put the pressure on Maryland to play a catch-up game the Terps have struggled with this season. Getting a win, and maybe one where Penn State asserts itself for the first time in a long time could really help the general tone and emotion of the final month of the season. Sure there are games the Nittany Lions want back, but if you stick the dismount, there is something to be said for that.

One Last Go:

It's Trace McSorley's final game at Beaver Stadium and bum-knee or not, Saturday with be an emotional afternoon for the longtime starting quarterback. This season has been a little short on his usual heroics, but a Big Ten title and gutsy efforts across his career ought to be more than enough to earn him a strong ovation as his name is announced.

Can he have one last afternoon to remember? This season hasn't been his best, but Trace is still Trace, and one final show in Beaver Stadium would be a nice end to his career at home.

Punch Back:

Maryland gave Ohio State everything it could handle last week and did it with more than a few explosive plays. It has been a while since Penn State has had to punch back after multiple explosive plays. This offense has been able to plod along without really having to pay for it against the majority of the Big Ten. Is it equipped for a potential shootout? We might never have to find out, but if the Terps come out firing like they did against the Buckeyes, the Nittany Lions will have to be ready to fire back. Question is, can they?

Stay Healthy:

A win ought to give Penn State a decent chance at yet another New Years Six bowl game. Can the Nittany Lions get out of Beaver Stadium healthy? That's always something to watch, and no less important, even with a month off coming up.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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