It wasn’t a bad game for Sean Clifford, but he’s had better performances. No doubt, he would like that tipped interception back. Still, he finished with 15-of-23 for 229 yards before Drew Allar replaced him midway through the third quarter, where the much-hyped freshman put up a solid performance commanding the offense, and threw for two touchdowns, including an incredible bullet to thread the needle into Tre Wallace’s hands in the end zone. Hopefully, we get to see Drew in action when the game’s outcome isn’t completely decided.
Running Back: A
Did it feel like Kaytron Allen ran for more than 86 total yards? Because it sure did to me. Nonetheless, Allen was Mr. Reliable as he consistently picked up enough yardage to move the chains and finish drives in the end zone, garnering a hat trick of TD’s. He even caught a pair of passes for 72 yards. Nick Singleton also added 73 yards and a TD, himself. We even got to see a healthy dose of Tank Smith later in the game, which was nice.
Wide Receiver: B+
Mitchell Tinsley led the way in yardage with 63 yards on five catches, while Parker Washington added four catches for 30 yards, but it was Wallace who had the unit’s lone TD grab.
Tight End: B+
Brenton Strange made the best catch of the game, reeling in a bullet from Cliff with a defender right on top of him. Theo Johnson uncharacteristically dropped what would’ve been a walk-in TD pass, though he did redeem himself later with a TD catch. Solid day of blocking and catching from the tight ends.
Offensive Line: A
For any team to miss three offensive line starters and start a true freshman in the process would present a challenge. Despite such challenges, the O-line was able to push Indiana’s defensive line around to give the running backs holes to go through and keep the QB’s upright for the most part. Shout-out to Drew Shelton on getting his first career start in place of Olu Fashanu (who we hope we haven’t seen for the last time in a Nittany Lion uniform already).
Defensive Line: A
Watching the D-line just swallow Indiana’s O-line from the opening play was a sight to behold, accounting for five of PSU’s six total sacks (all of which came in the first half alone) and swallowing up the Hoosier run game. Dani Dennis-Sutton also came up with an interception. Penn State dominated this game in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and it was most evident with the D-line play.
Abdul Carter was all over the place, per usual, even breaking up a pass. Kobe King meanwhile, led the entire defense in tackles with eight of them, including 2.5 for a loss and had a QB hurry.
Kalen King and Daequan Hardy both came up with interceptions, with Hardy coming a few yards shy of a pick-six. Ji’Ayir Brown also came up with a clutch blindside sack on Indiana QB Jack Tuttle to put the Hoosiers out of field goal range and prevent them from taking advantage of excellent field position following Cliff’s interception.
Special Teams: A
Barney Amor was solid per usual, averaging 47 yards on his four punts, including a long of 51. Jake Pinegar also nailed a clutch 50-yard field goal right before halftime to put PSU up 24-7, which seemed like Mt. Everest for Indiana to have to climb, given how PSU’s defense was owning them. Parker Washington also had a 19-yard return to set up PSU with prime position inside Indiana territory, which led to a TD. Hard to complain.