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A Duality Of Truth

Drew Allar is the best quarterback since Kerry Collins. Drew Allar has some growing to do.

Northwestern Wildcats defensive back Coco Azema (0) defends Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar (15) during the second half at Ryan Field. David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Truth number one: Drew Allar, the No. 1 quarterback in the class of 2022. He showed touch in his first drive in a college game that we hand’t seen since Daryll Clark was commandeering the offense in 2008. The sky is the limit for the quarterback, and if Penn State is going to reach their ultimate goals, it’s going to be because of him.

Truth number two: Drew Allar is a young quarterback who is still learning the college game, who, naturally, feels much more comfortable at home than he does on the road. Allar is completing 73.9 percent of his passes at home. On the road, he’s barely breaking 50 percent, at 51.5% over both the Illinois and Northwestern games.

To his credit, Allar has yet to throw an interception, a feat only Cam Ward of Washington State has accomplished through five weeks. An offense can do a lot of damage with a quarterback that doesn’t turn the ball over.

Speaking of turnovers, the first one of the season came on the first tick of the game, as Nicholas Singleton fumbled the ball on the opening kickoff. Northwestern would capitalize with a field goal.

The Wildcats, in what ended up being their best drive of the game, drove down the field to retake the lead after Penn State stalled out at the Northwestern three. Two punts later, the Lions managed to tie the game on the backs of KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Nicholas Singleton, and Trey Potts, who came in relief of Kaytron Allen. Allen went out in the first quarter and would not return for the rest of the game.

The dropped passes, drive-killing penalties, and overall focus went away in the second half. The defense, of course, was on the entire game, and they made their presence felt. Northwestern had the ball to start the third quarter, and the offense marched right down the field for a touchdown. Northwestern, understanding the urgency of this game, went for it on fourth down on their own side of the field, but didn’t get it. The Lions would get a field goal out of it. Down 10 points and with the game still within reach, the Wildcats went for it on their own side of the field again, and once more, they didn’t get it. Touchdown Penn State.

At 27-10, the game was effectively out of hand. The Wildcats would have one more good drive in them, but it netted a field goal. The Lions scored the last 14 points of the game.

Stats and storylines

Complementary football - Remember 2018, when KJ Hamler was the only consistent option at wide receiver because no one else stepped up? Through five games, we’ve seen a lot of dropsies on this wide receiver corps, and, with Harrison Wallace III not at 100 percent just yet, Lambert-Smith is the only consistent option. That’s concerning going the meat of the schedule.

1 - Passing touchdowns in this game by Beau Pribula. In case we thought he was only a running quarterback.

3.8 - Yards gained per carry by Singleton. It’s not the abysmal 3.2 of 2021, but we might need to do something to get this over the magical 4 yards per carry threshold.

Don’t look now, but - West Virginia, a team we handwaved as terrible before the season, is 4-1 to date, and doesn’t play a ranked team until November 11, when they travel to Oklahoma. The Mountaineers could be as good as 8-1 going into that game.