In a day where nothing came easy for the favorites in the Big Ten, it sure looked like Penn State would follow suite. The Nittany Lions offense sputtered with eight unsuccessful drives to start the game that included seven punts and one lost fumble. There were uncharacteristic mistakes that had not been seen in recent weeks, as it seemed that this time Penn State would need to go the distance to get past those pesky Scarlet Knights.
However, Penn State was able to pull something out of its pocket that has not been there in recent years - a reliable running game. True freshmen Kaytron Allen helped the Penn State offense take control with just 11 carries that he turned into 117 rushing yards and a touchdown - leading to him being named as the Big Ten’s Co-Freshman of the Week.
We’ve spilled many words throughout the course of the season to describe Allen’s development and impact on the offense. Allen did not make fans wait, contributing from week one as Penn State slipped past Purdue. He showed flashes of greatness early on, before playing flat-out great in the second half of the season.
Allen’s vision continues to improve as he settles into the college game and learns how to avoid tacklers and get the most out of each carry - whether it’s slipping past a defender in the backfield to turn a loss into a small gain, or finding the holes to rip off a 59-yard run that would force Penn State fans to wait one more possession before seeing Drew Allar use his arm. He’s becoming a more physical and dynamic runner each week, and has proven to be the steady presence that has been the missing piece to the offense for too long.
Be excited about what Allen brings to the table now. Be downright giddy when thinking what Allen will be doing at this time next year with a full offseason under his belt.
The Whole Entire Defense (Again) - This defense has been playing as a complete unit, with every man doing his job on a high level. You can’t mention Curtis Jacobs returning to make plays all over the field, without mentioning Abdul Carter doing the same for yet another week, without mentioning Johnnie Dixon filling in for Joey Porter Jr. seamlessly, without mentioning Ji’Ayir Brown slamming the door shut with a 70-yard touchdown return in front of his hometown family and friends, without Kobe King doing the same and looking like a completely different player, without mentioning....you get the point. Every player on defense deserves their due for putting in an MVP performance during the home stretch of the season.