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Three Takeaways From No. 11 Penn State’s 51-15 Flip-Win Over Maryland

They both had one and five, but the winning team had them in reverse.

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin celebrates with the offense after a first half touchdown against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium.
Drew Allar called Maryland’s score.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After a clunker of a game where Penn State won by the skin of their teeth, the spark that saw the Lions finish it out against Indiana continued on Saturday, as Drew Allar aired the ball out en route to a dominant performance over a reeling Maryland Terrapins squad. Here are your takeaways.

1: Playing loose

The Nittany Lions have looked like a completely different team every since Drew Allar threw that interception. It’s like a weight has been lifted off the entire offense, and now that the monkey is off the quarterback’s back, so is the pressure. Allar played unafraid to make mistakes, improvising when plays broke down, and, as has been the case for all but one game, the offensive line allowed Allar to make the right decisions time after time. With what comes next week, they couldn’t have picked a better time to wake up offensively.

2: Dante Cephas, welcome to the party!

Speaking of waking up offensively, Cephas has finally played like we all expected him to. The transfer wide receiver caught two touchdowns on 63 total yards for the day, and, finally, Penn State has the reliable second to KeAndre Lambert-Smith (who himself had a good game, with 95 yards on eight catches). With Harrison Wallace out, the Lions sorely needed someone to step to the plate.

3: Complementary football

It’s super easy for the defense to play well when the offense is doing its job. Today was no different. The Lions flew to the ball, making things impossible for Maryland. In fact, the Terps had -49 yards rushing on the day! Even if you exclude the sack yardage, that still leaves the Terps with -2 rushing yards on the day. The Lions forced Maryland to be extremely one-dimensional, and, unsurprisingly, the mistakes piled up as the game unfolded, when Taulia Tagovailoa couldn’t escape the constant pressure.

BONUS: Near perfect weekend

Oklahoma State over Oklahoma. Illinois over Minnesota. Indiana over Wisconsin. And, to sweeten the deal, Michigan State over Nebraska! All that, and a couple of games going down to the wire nearly made every scenario Penn State wants for a chance at an at large playoff berth come true. Take care of business moving forward, and who knows...