Entering Saturday’s contest, Penn State and West Virginia hadn’t faced off since Oct. 24, 1992. It may have felt like former starting quarterback Sean Clifford was the starter then, but alas it was Kerry Collins who was under center.
POISE AND PRESENCE
It sure didn’t look like there were any jitters for Allar. He played with impressive poise for a quarterback making his first collegiate start.
That poise coupled with pocket presence was a sight to behold, especially on the touchdown pass to KeAndre Lambert-Smith, a 72-yard throw and catch that put Penn State on the scoreboard early.
Drew Allar era has BEGUN pic.twitter.com/Jz18V9Ui2i
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 2, 2023
Moving up in the pocket and maintaining his feet behind the line of scrimmage was savvy for a true sophomore. It led to a 21-for-29 night for 325 yards and three touchdowns.
On his second touchdown to Lambert-Smith, Allar demonstrated an innate ability to add some touch to his ball to find him in the back of the endzone for six.
For as good as Allar was getting the ball downfield, it was the zero he put up in the turnover column that was most impressive. Controlling the ball and possession is what will win Penn State games later in the season against teams like Ohio State and Michigan.
A look on X and it might seem like the Penn State defense played horribly against West Virginia. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Sure, there were some instances that didn’t go as planned but overall it was a quietly dominant football game for Penn State.
PSU held West Virginia to 15 points, giving up a total of 310 yards, 174 of which came in the second half. West Virginia gashed the Penn State front with four runs of 10 yards or more in the second half and six for the game.
That’s an area Penn State will need to tighten up down the road, but in a game that featured as vanilla of a defense as possible, it’s still a solid night at the office for coordinator Manny Diaz’s crew.
LEAVING POINTS OUT THERE
Although Penn State did more than its fair share of making sure bettors went home happy, there were many points that could’ve still been put on the board.
There were multiple first-half drives that didn’t finish as planned for Penn State and either resulted in punts or missed field goal attempts.
The missed field goal attempts added a layer of inconsistency to a special teams unit that’s typically been solid during coach James Franklin’s tenure. The result of Sander Sahaydek’s two missed field goals of 38 and 34 yards respectively resulted in Alex Felkins taking over at placekicker in the second half.
Felkins to split the uprights with a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and gave the fans as well as Penn State’s coaching staff a sigh of relief.
If Penn State can’t fix the kicking game, it could be a long season in that department.