While there were many great moments during the 2012 College Football Season, the triumph of the Nittany Lions stands out above all the rest.
Penn State was in shambles. A scandal that had the potential to destroy the entire university, let alone the football program. After a summer clouded by controversy, every player for the Nittany Lions was given the option to transfer to a more desirable situation. Some players left, including their premier offensive weapon Silas Redd. The team could have mailed it, played soft, or even quit given the difficult circumstances they were forced to play through.
But a funny thing happened in Happy Valley this year. The true spirit of college football shone through the clouds of disgrace. After two losses to start the season, Penn State, led by 23 seniors, decided they would not be victims. The who had nothing to play for started to play for themselves. They would only lose two more games in 2012 (to undefeated Ohio State and #16 Nebraska), proving that the will to win still reigned supreme over all else.
The defining moment of the Nittany Lion season, and the best college football moment of 2012, came on November 24, 2012. This was Senior Day at Beaver Stadium. But the moment of the year did not happen during the game and wasn’t just the 24-21 win over Wisconsin. The moment of the year happened before the game, when the 23 seniors were honored. This young men stayed. They were ones who never gave up. They were the ones who proved that remaining united could lead to unfathomable success. They were Penn State.
While there were many great on the field achievements, special games, and outstanding athletic performances, the best moment of the year was honoring a group of men who persevered through the worst scandal in the history of college football. They inspired everyone and remind the country what college athletics are truly meant to represent.