PSU WR KeAndre Lambert-Smith has been somewhat of a polarizing figure in his first three seasons.
Lambert-Smith is a Class of 2020 four-star recruit out of Norfolk, Virginia, but some fans feel that he hasn’t lived up to his potential for whatever reason.
He’s been overshadowed by receivers Jahan Datson, Parker Washington and Mitchell Tinsley, who got more attention from QB Sean Clifford.
This season, the shift to the running game has affected Lambert-Smith’s numbers. Freshmen running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen took over Penn State’s offense.
Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich also put more emphasis on the tight ends, with Brenton Strange, Theo Johnson and Tyler Warren in the picture.
This also meant fewer opportunities to show what he can do.
Lambert-Smith caught a Rose Bowl-record 88-yard touchdown in the third quarter in Penn State’s 35-21 win over Utah. Lambert finally got to show the ability that Penn State fans and media knew that he had when he first came on campus.
.@seancliff14’s 88yd touchdown pass to KeAndre Lambert-Smith is the longest pass in @rosebowlgame history pic.twitter.com/M3dOI9pwSu
— Penn State Nittany Lions | NittanyNation.co (@PennStateRivals) January 3, 2023
“I have been known what I can do, ya’ll just finding out.” Lambert-Smith told reporters after the game.
Lambert-Smith is now the projected number-one wide receiver for Penn State in 2023. He has the best opportunity to finally have that breakout season in 2023 with Washington and Tinsley moving on from Penn State.
As for Monday, when Clifford needed to open the offense up and get a play in the passing game in the passing game, He went in No. 1’s direction. Lambert-Smith wanted Clifford and the seniors to go out on top after two disappointing seasons, which he was a part of the 11-11 stretch over the previous two seasons.
“I not happy just for Cliff (Clifford) but for all the seniors,” Lambert Smith said. “We talked about it in all the right ways, be that we can do that and it has been done and it has been done and that is aa good feeling on my part.”
Lambert-Smith was animated towards the game pumping up the Penn State fans that were in attendance as Penn State’s Rose Bowl victory was unexpected to start the year and after losses to Michigan and Ohio State, the chances of Penn State getting a Rose Bowl bid were slim heading to the end of the regular season. Now, Penn State finally got its “signature win” and Lambert-Smith and his teamate couldn’t resist showing his emotion.
“It was a feeling like we finally did it and accomplished a big goal that we set,” Lambert said. “But we didn’t even set it. We were counted out at the beginning of the season and to come out to win a Rose Bowl and it’s just now starting to hit me, we are in the Rose Bowl, and we won it. That why I have a rose in my mouth.”
Lambert-Smith will now try to use his big moment to spring himself as he will lead a young wide receiver room in 2023.