With 50 seconds to play on Saturday evening, Penn State trailed by seven points and stood 80 yards away from its end zone against undefeated Michigan. Led by a true freshman quarterback, the Nittany Lions needed only five plays and 33 seconds to tie the game but, barely a breath later, Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons trotted on the field with a chance to win the game on a 52-yard field goal try.
All told, Penn State faced three separate plays where a Gibbons field goal would have ended the game in a Michigan win. All three times he missed. Penn State won, 43-40 in four overtimes.
The 4-2 Nittany Lions are barred from participating in a bowl game or the Big Ten championship game. There's a solid possibility this is as good as it will get for Bill O'Brien's team in 2013.
"This is what a winning locker room feels like," O'Brien told his team in the middle of a festive locker room. "You guys are winners. Every guy in this room is a winner, because you never quit. Don't ever forget that the rest of your lives. You guys in this room have the ability to never get down and to keep sticking after things. That is a trait that not many people have."
For a team fresh off a 20-point loss to Indiana, pulling out a win in a game in which it trailed 10-7, 34-24, 37-34 and 40-37 is something to be proud of.