Penn State Postgame Report: Drew Allar Leads Nittany Lions To Victory Over West Virginia

Penn State Postgame Report: Drew Allar Leads Nittany Lions To Victory Over West Virginia Matthew O'Haren, USA TODAY Sports

The Nittany Lions beat the spread against a Big 12 opponent to start the season on Saturday night.

On national TV, Penn State took on an old rival in West Virginia. The Nittany Lions were favored by 21 and wound up winning by 23 despite two missed field goals.

The offense took a bit to get going, but showed some positive signs to start the season as they looked to click. Drew Allar, just the team’s third starting quarterback to open a season for the blue and white in the past 10 years, looked the part of a top-tier quarterback by the end.

The defense showed some concerns with tackling but managed to keep their opponent out of reach for most of the game.

It allowed the team to get some playing time for their backups by the end of the game, where players like Beau Pribula and Trey Potts were able to get their own touches and put up points of their own – something that could be important should either need to shoulder a larger role later in the season.

In the end Penn State did what they want to do: go 1-0 this week.

With their first win under their belt, they figure to take on a much easier opponent next week as they look to truly get rolling. They will face Delaware in a game that they hope can get some momentum but won’t allow the players to let their guards down for a trap game.

Offensive MVP: Drew Allar

The expectations were sky-high for the sophomore, but in his first start, he looked very comfortable. Allar ended this game with a great completion percentage, going 21/29 and even with that, there were at least three of the eight incompletions where the ball made contact with a receiver’s hands. He registered 325 yards and three touchdowns through the air. The one area of concern were a pair of timeouts because he couldn’t get the play ready in time, but otherwise he was able to read the defense, roll out, and make throws as they presented himself.

Defensive MVP: Curtis Jacobs

There’s probably a few different defensive backs that could see their names here just for how well they kept the ball from coming their way. Just to pick a single person, however, I’ll go with Jacobs, who registered 10 tackles and a sack. In a game where the other linebackers (particularly Abdul Carter) struggled to make the open field tackles, Jacobs was a welcome sight with his ability to finish guys off.

Game Notes

  • No idea what happened to Sander Sahaydak, who missed two field goals from about 35-yards. It was frankly embarrassing and having a gaping hole like that at kicker could really ruin a season in close games. Luckily, the Columbia transfer Alex Felkins was brought in and made his kicks.
  • The offensive line that has been so highly touted this offseason was a bit concerning. It’s an area we’ll need to see improvement by the end of the season if PSU is to get where their aiming to go.
  • West Virginia scored only twice, which is a good sign for the defense. One busted coverage was the reason for one of those scores, so if they could clean that up, they’d only have allowed a single score.
  • On the flip side, the defensive line was getting pushed around quite a bit in the run game, allowing runs to burst far too deep before anyone was in position to make a play.
  • Related to the above, the team managed just one sack on a regular play (they had two on trick plays). For the amount of times someone got in that backfield, it’ll be key for defenders to clean up more often on those plays and force some turnovers as a result.
  • Although there might not have been a second standout to KeAndre Lambert-Smith at receiver, the wide receiver group as a whole was pretty impressive. Harrison Wallace seemed to be a go-to option for Allar, but Liam Clifford and Malik McClain proved to also be reliable targets.
  • Dante Cephas had a good catch but also a drop that turned a would-be touchdown in the fourth quarter into just a field goal.
  • Although the secondary and coverage appeared to be in mid-season form (minus the busted coverage in the second quarter), the tackling was messy with too many missed tackles. That will need to be cleaned up before the Nittany Lions get into their B1G slate.

Injury Notes

  • None that were apparent during the game.

Penn State Game | Date

Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
West Virginia 0 7 0 8 15
Penn State 7 7 7 17 38

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