Well, that sure was nice to see Penn State look dominant with a balanced attack against an overmatched team! Next week is looking like more of a rock fight, but for now, let’s sit back and enjoy the grades this week, shall we?
Drew Allar will be the starting quarterback by season’s end, partially because Sean Clifford has never been able to make it through an entire season healthy and partially because it’s crystal clear just how much better Allar’s pocket presence and arm is compared to Cliff’s. The way he entered the game for the team’s second drive of the second half and almost effortlessly led a touchdown drive to completely put the game on ice was a thing of beauty. His 88 yards on 6-of-8 passing and two TD’s was just a taste of what’s eventually to come. That being said, Cliff had a good game overall, tossing for 213 yards and a TD and will absolutely be the starter next weekend at Auburn. It feels safe to say however, to expect Allar to see playing time in every game going forward, not unlike how Michigan has utilized Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy.
Running Back: A
It only felt like a matter of time until Nick Singleton took one to the house, and there was no better opponent than today’s to have a breakout game against. Singleton’s 10 carries for 179 yards and a pair of TD’s included runs of 70, 48, and 44 yards, with two of those aforementioned carries finishing in the end zone. Kaytron Allen had a couple nice power runs himself. It’s crystal clear at this point though, that Singleton is RB1 and it’s not even close. There will be riots in downtown State College if Nick isn’t the starter at Auburn next week.
Wide Receiver: B+
It was a good day overall for the receiving corps, as Omari Evans and Mitchell Tinsley both caught TD’s and Parker Washington led all receivers in yards with 60 of them on four catches. I’m still waiting to see someone become a true deep threat who can take the top off an opposing secondary like Jahan Dotson did last season. That being said, this unit was more than good enough for a game like today’s.
Tight End: B
Oh hey, what’s up, Khalil Dinkins? Congrats on your first collegiate TD catch!
Offensive Line: A-
Yes, Ohio got five sacks, but most of those were coverage sacks resulting from Sean Clifford waiting too long to get rid of the ball, as opposed to succumbing to pressure from the Bobcat defense. Run-blocking was good enough to allow Nick Singleton to let it rip. When your offense puts up 572 total yards, you know your O-line has had themselves a pretty good day.
Defensive Line: B+
Chop Robinson provided a solid pass rush and hopefully, someone else can also emerge along with Chop to get pressure on the quarterback, but it’s hard to complain when the front seven held the Bobcats to only 99 total yards on the ground. Chop and Amin Vanover also got themselves a pass breakup each, which was nice to see.
Unlike last week, the linebackers weren’t getting caught flat-footed on crossing routes and struggling to keep up. In fact, they held their own for the most part. The middle of the field is still something that is going to get exploited by better teams, and the front seven will get a big test next week when going up against Tank Bigsby and that Auburn rushing attack. Curtis Jacobs also tacked on a pass breakup, one of eight total for the PSU defense.
The secondary did its thing, accounting for five of PSU’s eight total pass breakups. Just another week at the office for this group, who should be licking their chops at Auburn’s passing struggles next week.
Special Teams: B-
If there’s one group that had even a semi-rough day, it was special teams. Jake Pinegar made a field goal, but also missed one to the right on PSU’s promising opening drive of the second half. Even more concerning, he badly doinked an extra point attempt. Thankfully, the game was long out of reach at that point, but such mistakes could cost PSU a crucial game later on if they’re not cleaned up.
Now to the good stuff: Barney Amor averaged 49 yards on his three punts, twice pinning the Bobcats inside their own red zone. Sander Sahaydak and Gabe Nwosu split kickoff duties once again, with four each. Two of Nwosu’s kickoffs went into the end zone for touchbacks.