Piscataway, N.J.– Penn State decisively won its third consecutive game Saturday, beating Rutgers 55-10. Penn State outgained Rutgers 436-167 in total yardage, scored touchdowns in all three phases and gave some young players valuable playing time. Here are my five takeaways from Penn State’s win.
PENN STATE’S DEFENSE IS SCARY
Penn State scored two defensive touchdowns Saturday. The first game on a Kobe King scoop and score, the second on a Ji’Ayir Brown scoop and score. I made a bold prediction that Penn State would score two defensive touchdowns. Penn State was on lockdown mode after its first two drives, and the defense could have had a third touchdown on Johnny Dixon’s interception, but there was a block in the back. Penn State gave up no points after the first two drives. The defense recorded four sacks, three takeaways and allowed only 32 rushing yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS= SPECIAL
Nick Singleton again showed his speed and explosiveness, this time on a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Jake Pinegar was perfect on his field goal attempts and extra points, and Barney Amor remains one of the best punters in the country, booting a 58-yard punt. Even backup specialists Saner Sahaydak and Alex Bacchetta got some playing time. First-year coordinator Stacy Collins has developed one of the most consistent units in the nation, and Singleton’s kickoff return was the icing on the cake in Saturday’s game.
YOUNG WIDEOUTS NEED TO MAKE NEXT STEP TO HELP DREW ALLAR
It sounds like nitpicking, but without Parker Washington, none of the young, highly regarded receivers have significantly impacted this season. I’m not calling them busts by any means. But between Omari Evans, Kaden Saunders, KeAndre Lambert-Smith and Trey Wallace, none of them has emerged as the next man in line after Washington and Mitchell Tinsley, the person who stepped up the most Saturday was Wallace, with a 25-yard catch in the second quarter. But Evans, Smith and Saunders were quiet and not big factors in the passing game when they had opportunities to get valuable reps.
KAYTRON ALLEN DOESN’T NEED TO TAKE A BACK SEAT TO ANYONE
Allen shined again Saturday, rushing for 120 yards on 11 carries, and hit the big 59-yard run in the third quarter that set up his rushing touchdown on the drive. Allen is more of a power back, but his speed is deceptive because he can shoot through the holes that the offensive line creates for him. Allen and Singleton are the first freshman pair of teammates in Big Ten history to rush for more 700 yards in a season. Allen is the thunder to Singleton’s lightning. Penn State rushed for 237 total yards.
LET’S ENJOY THE DREW ALLAR EXPERIENCE
Starting next year, Penn State fans and media will start picking apart Allar just like we pick apart Sean Clifford. But here is the thing, he is developing and getting the reps needed to help Penn State now and in the future. But we need to hold our expectations and not behest super high expectations on Allar too quickly, saying they would have beaten Ohio State and Michigan if he started. That is not true; they would have lost no matter who the quarterback was. Let’s enjoy the process that Allar is going through right now and let next season take care of itself. Saturday was the first time he got time with the starters since week one, and he showed his five-star ability, but there were a couple of drops by wide receivers.