11 AM local time games are a slog for everyone. And, coming off an emotional victory for both teams, a slow start was unsurprising. Penn State, however, found itself in more than just a battle start this game. Here are your takeaways.
1: Another slow start
It bears repeating. Slow start in sleeper 11 AM games are not unheard of, but this is now the second time the Nittany Lions have not looked particularly good out of the gate on the road, in an early kickoff. Their next road game starts at noon, but it’s against a team that will bury them if they have this bad a start.
Every quarterback will perform better at home than on the road. But Drew Allar’s deltas are immense. He is completing well over 60 percent of his passes at home, and on the road, he’s only completing barely getting to 50 percent. Again, against Ohio State, that’s simply not going to cut it.
2: Streak over
Penn State was the only team to have yet to turn the ball over to date. That ended on the first play of the game, as Nicholas Singleton fumbled the kickoff, leading to Northwestern’s first points of the contest.
3: Offensive line was mostly fine
The J.B. Nelson injury is probably going to suck, as being carted off doesn’t usually mean good things. And, while it looked like the rest of the line wasn’t getting any push, they did just enough to protect the quarterback and open some running lanes. Were they as dominant as we would have hoped? Not really, but they mostly did their job.
Everyone knows that teams will do everything in their power to stop the run, and, for the most part, they’ve successfully stopped the explosive runs we saw last season. They haven’t, however, stopped the running attack altogether.
BONUS: Receivers need to come correct
You know how you’re able to get those explosive runs? If opposing defenses believe they have to hang back against you. The drops have become a consistent problem, but, most alarmingly, no one other than KeAndre Lambert-Smith has really taken up the challenge. This will need to change sooner rather than later.