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Position Grades: UMass

Straight-A report card this week??

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time this season, Penn State put up a 63-banger and pitched a shutout. So, this means we’re going to be awarding them with a Straight-A report card, right? Right?? Let’s see if that’s the case:

Quarterback: A

Drew Allar looked like his usual poised, collected, self and comfortable in the pocket, tossing a hat trick of touchdown strikes in the process. In homage to Cory Giger, Drew also took his share of downfield shots, including a 30-yard TD strike to Theo Johnson. Beau Pribula got plenty of run in the second half, tacking on a rushing TD for the QB unit.

Running Back: A

Nicholas Singleton led the way in total yards rushed with 79 of them, while Kaytron Allen both averaged nearly eight yards per carry and was an absolute truck with tree trunks for legs, carrying several UMass defenders to the end zone on his TD run. Williamsport’s finest in Trey Potts also cleaned up with a TD in garbage time. And how about Tank Smith with the team’s longest run of the season with a 39-yarder? I bet nobody had that on their preseason Bingo card.

Wide Receiver: B-

The fumble on PSU’s opening drive notwithstanding, it was a welcome sight to have Tre Wallace back in the receiving corps. We were reminded why he was the clearly the second-best receiver in the room next to KeAndre Lambert-Smith, as he caught a few passes and also couldn’t quite haul in an absolute dime of a deep ball that Allar threw to him down the sideline. KLS led the unit in receptions with six of them. Unfortunately, Wallace and KLS were the only two receivers to even record a catch, as the unit is still looking for additional reliable targets.

Tight End: A

It was the Theo Johnson and Tyler Warren Variety Hour, as Theo led the team in receiving yards (66) and had a pair of TD catches and Warren also added a TD catch, himself. If Penn State is going to knock off Ohio State next weekend, Theo and Tyler put on similar performances in Columbus would go a long way towards making that dream a reality.

Offensive Line: B+

Allowing Allar to get sacked by this UMass defense on the second drive of the game led to a collective panic on the Internets, but overall it’s hard to find much fault with the O-line in this one. Their biggest test of the season comes next week against a J.T. Tuimoloau-led Ohio State defensive line.

Defensive Line: A+

UMass amassed 109 total offensive yards, thanks in large part to the defensive line giving UMass QB Taisun Phommachanh approximately one to two seconds tops in the pocket. Adisa Isaac (2.5 sacks), Chop Robinson (two sacks), and Dani Dennis-Sutton (half a sack) were the trio of terror leading the pass rush and just generally swarming to the ball.

Linebacker: A

Curtis Jacobs led the linebackers with five tackles, including one for a loss. Abdul Carter may have had a quiet afternoon on the stat sheet, but he made the most of it with three tackles, a tackle for a loss. As a whole, the defense was responsible for a whopping 14 tackles for a loss.

Secondary: A+

45 yards passing. That’s it. That’s the summary. Okay, shout-out to Keaton Ellis for his interception, PSU’s lone turnover forced on the day, and to Cam Miller for his pair of sacks.

Special Teams: A-

There should be riots in the streets if Daequan Hardy isn’t the full-time punt returner after his pair of TD’s yesterday. Alex Felkins was perfect on his extra points, Gabe Nwosu continued doing his thing with booting kickoffs deep, while Riley Thompson was only called upon to punt once but made the most of it with a 47-yarder. Unfortunately, the turnover on the punt hitting a PSU player in the foot prevents this from being a plain old A. Such a mistake was harmless yesterday, but absolutely cannot happen next weekend if PSU wants to emerge victorious.

Coaching: A

Manny Diaz’s defense continued to do their thing, while Mike Yurcich’s offense decided they’d take some shots downfield, especially to the tight ends, while at the same time not revealing too much for next weekend in Columbus.

Overall: A-

It wasn’t a squeaky-clean game considering the pair of turnovers, but when you win 63-0, (even against the likes of UMass) there’s not much to nitpick about. Despite a sluggish offensive start, the team was able to put this game away by halftime and by the end of the third quarter, was able to completely rest their starters and empty out the bench. No key players got injured, either. Now, the season truly begins next Saturday in Columbus at High Noon.