Yahoo! Sports analyst Sam Cooper believes Penn State can take a step forward in 2022 following a challenging 2021 season.

In 2021, Penn State finished the season with a 7-6 record. The season ended with a loss to Arkansas in the Outback Bowl in January. With last season behind Penn State, this upcoming season could be much better if the offense can produce.

The Nittany Lions will be led by 6th-year senior quarterback Sean Clifford. Cooper wants to see the offense take pressure off of Clifford and the defense fill some holes:

“For a turnaround in 2022, the offensive line play must be better. Adding five-star freshman Nick Singleton should give the running game a jolt. A more consistent running game takes some of the pressure off of Clifford, now a sixth-year senior. Defensively, the secondary and line are both solid but linebacker is a question mark. Ohio State is the obvious favorite in the Big Ten East, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Penn State finished second in the division and ended up in a New Year’s Six bowl,” Cooper said.

The season begins on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Purdue in West Lafayette. If the Nittany Lions can make adjustments, the B1G East could be up for grabs in 2022. This will be a pivotal season for the entire program.