With 13:20 left in the third quarter, leading 10-6 with a 2nd and 4 at the Penn State 40 yard line, Drew Allar scrambled for an 8 yard gain, but took a hard shot to his right shoulder as he was tackled. On the next play, he sailed a pass 5 yards over the head of the intended receiver, and motioned to be taken out of the game, favoring the shoulder that had been hit.
Beau Pribula came in, and ran for 39 yards on the next play.
Of course the team ultimately turned the ball over on downs on that drive, but it was obvious that Rutgers was prepared for a more stationary quarterback, despite having ample film of Beau being a run-first QB.
With Pribula on the field, the Lions all but abandoned the pass, a la the Michigan Special™, and ground the Scarlet Knights down to a 27-6 win.
Despite only attempting one pass - a 9-yard dart to Tyler Warren - the offense seemed different with Beau on the field.
For starters, the defense now had to respect the QB run a lot more, meaning that Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton were able to find some footing.
With Allar in the game, Allen had toted the rock 10 times for exactly 3 yards per carry, but did have a touchdown in there. Singleton had just 5 carries for 1.8 yards per carry, and a fumble.
With Beau in, Kaytron carried the ball six times, averaged 6.5 yards per carry, and added a second rushing touchdown.
Singleton also got the ball six times, good for 8.7 yards per carry, and would have had a TD of his own were it not for a fumbled snap at the 1 yard line which Beau gathered and took in himself.
So it’s obvious that the rushing game improved with Beau on the field, though it’s also possible that Rutgers wasn’t expecting nearly a full half of mobile QB play. It is at least slightly damning that the coaching staff doesn’t trust Pribula to throw the ball. He had one attempt this game, which did go for 9 yards, but it was an out near the sideline that could very nearly have been considered a sideways handoff.
Then again, with a TD lead, and the run game actually working, why bother passing the ball? Once again, basically what Michigan did to Penn State just a week prior.
The rest of this season is likely a tryout of sorts for Ja’Juan Seider and Tyler Bowen as offensive coordinator. To that end it may also be a tryout for what kind of offense the Lions may want to run next season (and beyond).
After having had mobile QBs with “okay” passing abilities - Trace McSorley and Sean Clifford, namely - the staff seemed keen to have a true passing quarterback in Drew Allar. Unfortunately that hasn’t really carried over to offensive production, as the team struggled to score against both Michigan and Ohio State. The last true passer, Christian Hackenberg, also did not fare well in a James Franklin offense.
Perhaps the writing is on the wall, and Franklin just needs to embrace the mobile QB as his core offensive philosophy? Only time will tell.