After yet another sluggish start, which is apparently the only way it can play in 2020, Penn State came back to demolish Illinois 56-21 on Saturday.
The Nittany Lions were thoroughly dominant for the last 40 minutes or so of the contest and the victory saw them end the season on a four-game win streak after opting out of bowl competition.
Penn State scored on its first play from scrimmage and the offense never stopped scoring, while the defense put the clamps on the Illini following a wretched first quarter.
Here are our three biggest takeaways from the contest:
1. Jahan Dotson is a dog
Man, what a game and what a season its been for Jahan Dotson, After being named a third-team all-Big Ten selection during the week, Dotson came out and showed why that selection was probably not high enough praise. The Nazareth product caught six passes for 189 yards and two scores, including two 70-plus yard touchdown receptions. He also yet again provided a special teams spark, returning a punt for 50 yards. Dotson finishes his junior year with 52 receptions for 884 yards and eight touchdowns. While he’s certainly made the case to be drafted should he enter the 2021 NFL Draft, with another year under his belt and a full offseason I believe Dotson could become an All-American.
2. Keaton Ellis is the Nittany Lions best cornerback
Since returning from injury, there’s best no question who Penn State’s best corner is, and it’s clearly Keaton Ellis. Joey Porter Jr. has shown flashes, but Ellis has been superb from the Nittany Lions. The true sophomore and State College native made the first interception of his career against Illinois and added a pair of tackles, leading a secondary that held the Illini to just 120 yards through the air,
3. The freshmen backs are going to mighty, mighty good
We’ve already talked at length about how good freshman running back Keyvone Lee has been this season. And he was once again good on Saturday, carrying the ball 19 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. But it was fellow freshman and fellow Floridian Caziah Holmes that popped for me when watching Saturday’s game. Holmes had 12 carries for 77 yards, including the first two touchdowns of his career. Watching Holmes, it also felt like he was more confident in pressing, cutting and getting through holes than he’d been earlier in the season. As that technique and vision continue to improve, his physical tools become even more impressive. With Lee and Holmes in tandem, and hopefully Noah Cain and Devyn Ford returning, the Penn State run game is in good hands going forward.