Most people know Sam Ficken. Most people remember the Virginia game, earlier this year when he missed crucial kicks. But what if Ficken is the reason Penn State football is doing so well in the Big Ten? In lieu of this past weekend’s win, I began to wonder if we should go for it on fourth, simply because of that rocky start in Virginia. Bill O’Brien’s bold offensive schemes are well known and have been happening all year. But, he continues to keep the offense out on fourth down even when within average field goal range. He goes for it, and converts. The momentum from the triumph of fourth downs seems to carry players all the way into the end zone.
And at Virginia, we went for no fourth downs and lost. Since then, we’ve converted eight out of 13 fourth downs and gone 4-0. All we can do is win our Big Ten division, so does it really matter that we lost to an ACC team? Maybe that game was the catalyst that started this fourth down frenzy. Maybe, because of Ficken’s poor performance in week two, we’re knocking out undefeated teams in week six. Maybe, that dark Virginian cloud had a bright silver lining; the silver lining of Sam Ficken.
junior - biology