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19 Random Thoughts On Penn State-Indiana

Some final thoughts for Survival Saturday.

Syndication: Hanover Evening Sun Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK
  1. On the positive side of things, that was a game that Penn State very well could have dropped. Faced an early deficit, gave up two big plays for touchdowns, and threw an interception on their side of the 50 with just over five minutes left in a three-point game. That’s a recipe for getting upset by a bad Indiana team.
  2. Fortunately, the Hoosiers didn’t play a clean game whatsoever. The botched punt return by Camden Jordan led to Penn State’s first touchdown. Quarterback Brendan Sorsby throws an interception before halftime that allowed for the Nittany Lions to tack on an extra three points via an Alex Felkins 50-yard field goal. Meanwhile, Indiana kicker Chris Freeman misses a chip shot 37-yard field goal on its first possession out of the half. All three of those mistakes caused a 13-point swing, which obviously came back to bite them.
  3. I’ll echo the sentiments that most others have already said: you hope the game-winning touchdown bomb to KeAndre Lambert-Smith acts as a catalyst for this offense being able to open things up more. I don’t think anyone is expecting a 2016-esque big play brigade from the offense the rest of the way, but they need to take some shots deep when it’s one-on-one coverage because *those* types of plays can happen.
  4. Even before the KLS strike, we did see a couple more deep shots from Drew Allar. One to Dante Cephus in the first half and one to Malik McClain in the second half. Both were overthrown just a touch, but again: the opportunities are there. When you have a quarterback like Allar who can throw 55-60 yards effortlessly, you only need a half-step advantage.
  5. Trey Wallace got hurt early in the first quarter and wasn’t seen again until he came back to the sideline in a sling. Perhaps it was just extremely precautionary, but I’m personally not expecting to see him the next two weeks.
  6. As Colin noted in his snap counts article, McClain was the beneficiary of the Wallace snaps, seeing 61 of 78 snaps on the day. That turned into zero receptions, though. Not sure if we’ll see McClain get the bulk of the snaps this coming weekend, or if it will continue to be musical chairs at wideout after Lambert-Smith.
  7. I wish it was in a less threatening spot, but I am glad the “Allar hasn’t thrown an interception” campaign is over. Like everyone else, I am encouraged that on the series immediately after that he connected with Lambert-Smith for the long touchdown. Hopefully, if he had some weird “never throwing an interception” burden, that is now gone.
  8. While the 57 yarder is obviously getting the headlines, I thought Allar’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Theo Johnson in the third quarter was just as important. The Nittany Lions — whether it’s Yurcich’s game plans or Allar’s decisions in real time — have not done a fantastic job attacking the middle of the field, despite having two of the better tight ends in America. Similar to what has been said about pushing the ball down the field, the same can be said about the tight ends in the middle of the field: Allar and/or Yurcich has to trust them to win one-on-one battles. On the touchdown play to put Penn State up 24-14, Allar did just that with Johnson.
  9. It is almost comical how every time a running back has just *one* more tackle to break in order to hit a 20+ yard run, they just can’t seem to do it. The lack of a long run or two ends up skewing how competent the rushing attack has been at gaining positive yardage on a mostly consistent basis.
  10. It was taken away because of a clear-as-day block in the black from Kolin Dinkins, but Daequan Hardy is borderline special as a punt returner.
  11. I know Hardy was out the first couple games for non-injury reasons, but I’m not sure why he didn’t immediately take over as starting punt returner when he came back. I continue to believe in Kaden Saunders, but Hardy is a different level mover as a punt returner.
  12. Dani Dennis-Sutton is coming along quite nicely. He really took advantage of an extended role without Chop Robinson on Saturday, putting up 6 tackles and 1 strip sack which essentially iced the game. Not that I was ever *that* worried about DDS, but there were some times early in the season where he looked a bit robotic. That hasn’t been the case as he’s seen more and more time.
  13. Speaking of players trending positively defensive, Jaylen Reed is starting to separate himself as the alpha of the safety group. Really strong game against the Hoosiers — 8 tackles, 1 INT, and 1 TFL. I know we don’t care right now, but he’ll have an interesting decision to make regarding his NFL future in December/January.
  14. James Franklin said at his press conference on Tuesday that he thinks Caedan Wallace (who went down early against Indiana) should be available against Maryland. Perhaps I’m reading too much into the wording, but “available” and “will play and/or start” are two very different things. JB Nelson was “available” against Ohio State, but Vega Ioane got all the snaps at left guard.
  15. Speaking of Nelson, he saw a bit more added to his plate against Indiana, nearly splitting snaps with Ioane as he works his way back from injury. I’m sure there will be some sort of rotation again versus Maryland, but come the Michigan game, I think Nelson wins that spot back. He’s just more consistent, in this humble blogger’s opinion.
  16. Not that a scoop and score means much for a how a defensive tackle is playing, but as a Beamon Inc. shareholder, it was not great seeing him fumble the ball around for 18 seconds.
  17. On the season, Beamon has five tackles to go along with zero TFLs and zero sacks. This is despite leading the defensive tackles in playing time (43.24%). I mean, I know he has had a quiet season, but as a shareholder, it humbling that Zane Durant has more TFLs than Beamon has tackles.
  18. Indiana is a tough job but that doesn’t change the fact that Tom Allen is a jabroni. He is 2-21 against Big Ten opponents since the fake and totally not real 2020 season.
  19. It has to be painful for Indiana fans to think of an alternate timeline where Tom Allen leaves Indiana for Florida State in 2019 and the Hoosiers promote offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer to head coach. Ouch.