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20 Random Thoughts On Penn State’s 38-15 Win Over West Virginia

It’s me.

West Virginia v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The great and powerful Adam Collyer is out this season due to NCAA infractions. We won’t get too into it, but the hamburger that Jim Harbaugh bought was for Adam actually. You just hate to see it.

With Adam’s absence, I’ll be taking over Random Thoughts, so without further ado, here are 20 random thoughts from Penn State’s season opening win over West Virginia.

  1. I still don’t know how I feel about playing a Power 5 opponent in the first week of the season. I didn’t think Penn State was going to have much trouble with West Virginia, but there is a part of me that longs for the days of starting the season with a noon kick against the likes of Idaho. As exciting as the primetime Almost White Out was, I like to ease myself into the season.
  2. Let’s start with what has been the biggest takeaway from the game. Everyone is talking about him because despite the massive expectations, he lived up to the hype. Of course, we’re talking about kickoff specialist Gabriel Nwosu. The 6-foot-6, 274-pound punter was magnificent on kickoffs all night, booming kicks deep into the end zone to prevent any West Virginia returns.
  3. Okay. Drew Allar, folks. Wow. Stepping up in the pocket, evading defenders, keeping his eyes down the field, and being able to generate a throw with that much power and accuracy to hit KeAndre Lambert-Smith — what an opening drive not just for the season, but for the Allar Era in Happy Valley. Couldn’t have scripted it any better.
  4. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising given it was the first game of the season, but I thought the defense looked disjointed. There were a couple times were the defense was late getting to their spots pre-snap, giving West Virginia the numbers advantage out wide for screens. There was also a play on a 4th down in the third quarter were two Penn State linebackers ran out to cover the running back in the flat. Need to get that cleaned up.
  5. Cam Miller with one of the smartest plays of the night with 7:46 left in the first quarter. Garrett Greene evades a sack from Abdul Carter and rushes to the sideline. He’s not even close to the first down, so Miller smartly pulls up and doesn’t lay him out, which would have likely been a late hit giving the Mountaineers a fresh set of downs.
  6. Despite the lack of big plays, thought both Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen looked as we expected them too. Singleton’s vision and footwork in tight looked cleaner, while Kaytron’s additional 15 pounds of muscle made him even more of a force to bring down.
  7. I have to take a lap for Hakeem Beamon. He did not play very well against West Virginia. He’ll never been a run-stuffing, block-eating tackle the way PJ Mustipher was, but that needs to be offset by making some plays in the backfield. He just didn’t do that consistently enough on Saturday.
  8. Ditto for Abdul Carter, who finished the night with one tackle. He took some questionable angles to the ball, and while the interior of the defensive line could have played better, they weren’t aided by Carter’s reads.
  9. Dani Dennis-Sutton out-snapped Adisa Isaac, which could have just been Penn State wanting a bigger defensive end against West Virginia’s rushing attack, but I thought DDS looked stiff.
  10. While the front seven didn’t play exceptionally well, there’s a pretty good chance that West Virginia offensive line will be the best offensive line the Nittany Lions will see until Michigan in November. Left tackle Wyatt Milum and center Zach Frazier could be first-team All-Big 12 performers this season, while right tackle Doug Nester is no slouch either.
  11. I still think Penn State lacks a bonafide WR1 — someone who is going to go up against Ohio State or Michigan and have a 10 catch day — but it was a good night for the receivers. KeAndre Lambert-Smith showed off his big play potential, while Trey Wallace showed he is more than just a deep threat. Toss in solid games for Malik McClain and Liam Clifford, and the arrow is pointing up for this group.
  12. Liam Clifford is a better player with #2 compared to when he wore #82. This is not an opinion but a fact.
  13. Curtis Jacobs with a nice game, and a very nice sack to force West Virginia to punt with just over a minute left in the 2nd quarter. He made a nice adjustment during his blitz of not over-pursuing, realizing that Greene would step up into the pocket due to the other blitzers.
  14. I will not be speaking about the missed field goals but thanks for asking.
  15. Going back to Allar for a second if I can, what impresses me the most is his anticipation. So many of his throws were to “open” receivers, but a big part of that is Allar seeing the field so well and anticipating where the openings are going to be.
  16. Not a fantastic night for Tyler Elsdon or Dom DeLuca, but their backups — Keon Wylie and Tony Rojas — didn’t look too hot either. Granted, Wylie and Rojas were playing in the most conservative defense possible on West Virginia’s fourth quarter touchdown drive, but you’d hope for a flash play or two.
  17. West Virginia’s ring around the rosie huddle almost had them kick the ball before lining up. Would that have been a penalty?
  18. Felt good watching a #9 at quarterback again.
  19. I literally could not care less about Penn State scoring a touchdown on the final drive with under 10 seconds left. It was only a two-score game, the Nittany Lions weren’t taking timeouts, and they were running the clock out. This was not a Michigan State 2016 situation.
  20. Overall, a good game for Penn State. There are areas for improvement for sure, but beating a Power 5 team by 23 points is a solid first step in what we hope is a Big Ten championship season.