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Midweek Musings - Clutchness

Coming through when it matters most

Syndication: Hanover Evening Sun Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

Drew Allar’s previous play on the field had been his first interception in the Blue and White, at the most inopportune of times. Clinging to a 3-point lead, in the shadows of his own goal posts, Drew had likely had one or two options for a completed pass, if not a first down. Instead, on 3rd and 8 from his 14 yard line, Allar chucked it into double coverage, while falling backward, under pressure.

A short return, a three-and-out, and Indiana was tied with the Lions.

Backs against the wall, tied 24-24, just 2:56 left in the game, Penn State had the ball at their 22 yard line.

So what’s the play call for a young QB, fresh off their first career interception?

A passing play. Toss to Kaytron Allen, first down Penn State.

A quick running play, another first down as Kaytron rumbled through the Hoosier defenders.

Then, lightning strike.

KeAndre Lambert-Smith executed a slot fade immaculately, and Drew Allar uncorked his best deep ball all season. KLS caught it in stride, tightrope-walked down the sideline, and somersaulted into the end zone.

Very next drive, Indiana now needing a TD to tie the game with just 1:33 left in the game, Brendan Sorsby stepped back to pass - and got absolutely obliterated by Dani Dennis-Sutton coming around the right edge. Forced fumble, which yakety sax-ed its way all the way to and through the end zone, for a safety.

Onside kick attempt, which was honestly a pretty good one, saw Tyler Warren hop up, catch the ball, and cradle it while Hoosiers attempted to rip it free.

Against an inferior opponent, coming off a gut-wrenching loss, with the pesky foe tying it up off an uncharacteristic late-game turnover, some teams would have folded. Played for overtime, and perhaps lost in 9 of them.

But for the first time all season, we saw Drew Allar chuck it deep and connect with his receiver. Having just committed his first interception - and frankly, one that would have had people apoplectic about if it were Sean Clifford - Drew found the confidence to chuck it deep, and finally connect on it. KLS out-athleted the DB covering him. DDS dipped and ripped to a sack-fumble, making it a two-score game. And Tyler Warren cemented the win with sure hands.

There are 4 games left in the season, and we’ll see how the team finishes up. The offense isn’t as good as we’d all hoped, and the defense has shown a few chinks in the armor.

But when it was absolutely needed, when the team had to clutch up or face a pretty rough end to the season, Drew, KLS, DDS, and Tyler (amongst pretty much every other player) took a step forward and clutched up.

It’s very possible that the last 2:56 of game time against Indiana will be looked back on as the time that the Lions sorted things out. Believed in themselves, and could look at each other to say “yeah, we got this.”