Final Thoughts: Arkansas Razorbacks 24, Penn State Nittany Lions 10

By Matthew Filipovits on January 1, 2022 at 3:46 pm
Jan 1, 2022; Tampa, FL, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Keyvone Lee (24) rushes with the ball during the first half against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the 2022 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
© Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the 2021 Penn State football season is finally over. The Nittany Lions came out flat, couldn't get anything going on offense, and frankly, couldn't overcome the opt-outs on the defensive side of the ball en route to a 24-10 loss to Arkansas in the Outback Bowl.

  • The offense was Bad. Simply put Sean Clifford did not get the job done. He made poor decisions and looked uncomfortable almost the entire game. I don't know if he was injured (he left the game in the fourth quarter) but this current version of him is not a viable option in 2022. Get ready for a long offseason of quarterback talk.
  • Parker Washington is going to be a great WR1. The sophomore made some outstanding grabs and was one of the few bright spots on what was an otherwise horrendous day for the offense.
  • The offensive line needs to be better. Phil Trautwein's job is safe right now - but another season of what we just witnessed will not fly. The staff needs to figure out the issue as quickly as possible.
  • For all their flaws, the young guys on defense stepped up. Sure, they missed tackles but that will come with experience. The young defensive linemen especially impressed. I'm excited to see what Coziah Izaard, D'von Ellies, and Smith Vilbert have in store next season. 
  • Jesse Luketa and Ji'Ayir Brown were phenomenal this afternoon. Brown should head into 2022 as one of the best defensive backs in the Big Ten and while Luketa could still return if he wants to, he's got to like what he put on tape for NFL scouts. 
  • Penn State is at a crossroads. They're now 11-11 in their last 22 games and very few of those wins have come against truly quality opponents. James Franklin is here to stay but these next nine months will define his tenure as the head coach of the Nittany Lions. 
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