With Penn State’s domination of Delaware yesterday, the Position Grades post is officially on Straight-A report card watch. Let’s see if that’s indeed, the case:
Drew Allar was as cold, calculating, and ruthless as Gus Fring, showing the ability to check down to the open receiver and deliver and accurate strike on 22 of his 26 passing attempts, which included 18 consecutive pass completions and one touchdown strike. He even ran it a handful of times with decent success, including a rushing TD, giving Illinois something additional to worry about with regards to the Penn State offense. Beau Pribula also saw plenty of action, coming in around mid-third quarter and having himself a game as well, with a rushing and passing TD, looking very much the part of a Trace McSorley stunt double.
Running Back: A
While neither Nick Singleton or Kaytron Allen ripped off an explosive run play, they were both very methodical and consistently picking up chunks of yardage to either put PSU in 2nd/3rd and manageable situations, move the chains for a first down, or finish drives in the end zone. Singleton had a hat trick of TD’s himself, while Kaytron also had a TD. Trey Potts and Tank Smith saw plenty of action in the second half, with Potts ripping off a nice 20-yard gain, himself.
Wide Receiver: A
While Omari Evans had the lone TD amongst the receivers unit, it was KeAndre Lambert-Smith who once again led the group, with six catches for 74 yards. Tre Wallace and Dante Cephas both had a couple of nice catches to the move the chains, as well. It was an all-around efficient day and collective effort in the receiving department, which much of the credit can be attributed to Allar’s accuracy and arm strength, but at the end of the day, the receivers still need to catch the ball, and that they certainly did.
Tight End: A
Tyler Warren and Theo Johnson combined for eight total catches, with Warren catching a TD pass from Allar. Aside from being more utilized in the passing attack this week, these two were once again dominant in the run-blocking arena, especially in that patented T-formation.
Offensive Line: A
Nothing to complain about this week, as the O-line was solid in both run blocking and pass protection (Delaware was held sack-less). Ten different lineman saw action, which is precisely what you would hope to see against an overmatched FCS opponent, and is great for building depth that could come in handy if the injury bug hits later in the season.
Defensive Line: A
PSU garnered four sacks, three of them coming from the D-line. Aside from Marcus Yarns’ 66-yard TD run, Delaware wasn’t able to muster much of anything against PSU’s front seven.
Delaware put up 82 yards rushing, with 66 of those coming on one play that went for the Blue Hens’ only score of the game. While I hate to pick a particular player, Tyler Elsdon was caught out of position on Yarns’ TD run and by the time the secondary players realized what was up, Yarns was off to the races. Dominic DeLuca dropped a potential pick-six but totally redeemed himself shortly afterwards by actually coming up with a pick-six.
Delaware racked up 58 total yards passing and didn’t do much to challenge the secondary downfield. This unit should see more balls coming their way though next week, at Illinois.
Special Teams: A
After last weekend’s adventure against West Virginia, this was a more boring, yet fine performance with Alex Felkins nailing all eight of his extra points and Sander Sahaydak even coming in to boot the ninth extra point through the uprights. Gabe Nwosu and Felkins routinely put their kickoffs towards the end zone for touchbacks, while Riley Thompson averaged a solid 45.5 yards on his two punts. Hopefully, we’ll get to see Kaden Saunders rip off a big punt return sometime in the near future, as well.
[NEW CATEGORY] Coaching: A
You asked for it, you got it! The game plan seemed rather basic, yet highly efficient (which is what you would hope for against a team like Delaware) and more importantly, the staff did a great job making sure the starters didn’t get more snaps than necessary before throwing the backups into action and building some critical depth for down the road.
PSU was able to do pretty much whatever they wanted to Delaware offensively, held the Blue Hen offense to under 100 yards in both passing and rushing, didn’t suffer any key injuries, and most importantly, got a ton of reps for the backups. Unlike two years ago when they failed to run the ball on the Villanova, there were no red flags that popped up that would indicate trouble for Big Ten play. Seeing how shaky Illinois has looked in their two games thus far, that trip to Champaign next week while still a challenge, looks far less daunting than it did a couple of weeks ago.