Not all wins are the same, and Saturday’s 30-13 win over Illinois reflects that perfectly compared to Penn State football’s first two wins.
Wins against West Virginia and Delaware were never in question and sweat-free but Saturday’s game provided some moments of vulnerability.
Though there were vulnerable moments, there was still a lot to be happy with, and a 17-point win on the road in the Big Ten is no easy task regardless of the opponent.
Manny Diaz’s defense is attracted to the ball and making plays so much that Penn State forced three first-quarter turnovers against Illinois before finishing with five.
It all starts up front with playmakers like Adisa Isaac and Chop Robinson leading the way. Their ability to put pressure on the quarterback allows those behind them to hunt the ball, and they’ve done so in big ways. The athleticism of the group up front gives opponents another large challenge. Penn State isn’t afraid to drop their ends into zone coverage on certain blitz packages.
Having guys like Dom DeLuca step up is also helping. Through three games, the redshirt sophomore already has a forced fumble and pick-6 .
The ability to not just make plays, but also just dominate the other team has worked in a big way and has helped keep the ball in Drew Allar’s hands.
As well as the defense is doing at taking the ball away from opponents, Allar and company are doing just as well, if not better, at keeping the ball away from the other team.
The offense has yet to yield a turnover, and that’s an excellent recipe for success.
Allar wasn’t the person to throw a touchdown offensively. That was Trey Potts. But he didn’t do anything to damage Penn State’s cause against Illinois.
That type of game management is a huge asset and when things aren’t always going your way, just what the doctor ordered.
Managing games and keeping the ball away will be what wins games during the heart of the Big Ten schedule.
What’s more, Allar and the Penn State offense failed to play their best game, yet still threw up 30 points on the scoreboard. Life isn’t too bad right now.
Penn State’s 3-0 and has won each game by three or more scores despite an afternoon where the offense wasn’t completely firing on all cylinders.
Its also ranked No. 7 with an opportunity to send a message when No. 24 Iowa comes to town next Saturday.
A win is a win no matter how rough it is to get there.