In a year where the Nittany Lions weren’t expected to compete at all following the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal and the loss of numerous quality recruits, Penn State shocked college football with an eight-win season. First-year coach Bill O’Brien won the Big Ten Coach of the Year award by both media and coaches, and ESPN named him the national coach of the year. Despite the eight wins, Penn State was forced to serve the first of a four-year postseason ban as part of the penalties for the Sandusky scandal. However, the football program is reinvigorated, playing football under a coach other than Joe Paterno for the first time since 1965. After losing their first two games, Penn State won eight of their next ten, including road games at Illinois, Iowa, and Purdue, and a home game against #24 Northwestern. They’ll have a quarterback competition to replace the graduated Matt McGloin, but other role players, like 1000-yard rusher Zach Zwinak and leader sacker Deion Barnes will return. Four-star recruit Christian Hackenberg could run away with the quarterback job, followed by four-star tight end Adam Breneman, four-star wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, and three other four-star lineman ensure Penn State will remain competitive in fall 2013.
The Nittany Lions football program represents Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania and is known as one of the most storied programs in the country. In 2008, they became the sixth team in college football history to win 800 games. The Lions have claimed two national championships in the team’s history, both under the leadership of famed coach Joe Paterno. Beaver Stadium is the home of the Nittany Lions and is the fourth largest stadium in the world. The Nittany Lions also play two trophy games throughout their season, one against Michigan State and the other against Minnesota.