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Penn State and the Bye Week Blues

Article Written by Mac Young

Originally Published on October 6, 2023

Is it early in the season so the team can correct early-season miscues in practice? Perhaps it’s right before the biggest game of the season so there is extra time to prepare. Or is it late in the season when a team might need some rest after being banged up before the stretch run?

However you see it, it is impossible to tell if the bye week will come at the right time.

For Penn State, the bye week has been unkind the last two seasons.

In 2021 the Nittany Lions entered the off-week after a loss on the road to a highly touted Iowa squad. Many were banged up so it seemed like the right time for a bye but in the Nittany Lions' next game against Illinois they lost at home in a crushing nine-overtime defeat.

Last season, Penn State went into the bye with a 5-0 record and a trip to Michigan on the horizon. It felt perfect for the Nittany Lions to get extra rest and preparation before their biggest road test.

Unfortunately for Penn State, none of that mattered or even helped. Michigan abused Penn State on the ground rushing for a ridiculous 418 yards in a 41-17 win for the Wolverines.

All that to say, the last two seasons' bye weeks have been the predecessor of disappointment for Penn State.

This year’s bye week seems to have fallen slightly better for the Nittany Lions. Once again the team is 5-0 with high aspirations for the rest of the season.

However, this time Penn State will come off the bye at home against a 1-5 UMass team. This should allow the Nittany Lions to get back in rhythm before their toughest road date of the season at Ohio State the following week.

It’s funny how similar this bye week is to the one from last season coming at the same week in the season but with one slight caveat. Penn State can shake off the rust of the bye at home against what should be a layup of an opponent before having to go to Columbus.

All they have to do is avoid a nuclear meltdown like against Illinois in 2021 and the bye-week blues will be short-lived for Penn State. Otherwise, some bigger questions are going to be asked of the coaching staff.

Mac Young is a senior broadcast journalism major at Penn State.

To contact him email

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