A look at the score of Penn State football’s 41-13 win over Northwestern makes it seem like it was just another easy win, but Saturday’s contest was far from it.
Defensively, it was another dominant performance, but the offense left much to be desired and struggled at times.
Nonetheless, Penn State’s 5-0 heading into the bye week with UMass up in two weeks.
GETTING AFTER IT
Penn State’s has been leaps and bounds above what even the highest expectations for the group were coming into the season.
Saturday’s performance was no different with Manny Diaz’s group notching seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss against Northwestern. Oh, and it held Northwestern to well under 200 yards. Northwestern finished with 167 yards of total offense with 122 of those coming through the air.
Despite not getting a great performance from the offense, the defense continues to impress and play a dominant brand of football. Will it be sustainable as the Big Ten schedule ramps up in three weeks? That remains to be seen but the optimism should be there.
STIRRING THE POTTS
Trey Potts came to Penn State from Minnesota where he rushed for 1,000+ yards in his career. He came knowing he’d be behind Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton, but has been a very welcome addition to the loaded backfield.
Potts was used in the passing game and running game late against Northwestern. With the injury to Allen, he could see his time increase, and it’s not necessarily a huge dropoff.
Potts has shown he has the speed and most certainly has the hands to be a major part of the offense. Judging by some of his reps, it looks like he hits the hole faster than both Singleton and Allen.
By no means is that a knock on either of the sophomores. Potts just adds a layer to a Penn State offense that needs to create more explosions when it has the ball.
Could Potts be that guy? It’s possible, but his play definitely warrants some more expanded playing time.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN?
Despite throwing up 41 points, it was a very ho-hum day for the offense.
Drew Allar showed he’s in fact human, though it’s yet another game where he didn’t turn the ball over. Allar finished 18-for-33 with 189 yards and a touchdown through the air. On the ground, he added a touchdown, but the offense was stagnant at times.
By no means has the offense played a complete game so far this season. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as the schedule gets hot here in three weeks, but there’s a lot to improve on. The lack of a deep threat isn’t new this season, but it’s has to be addressed as the games get harder.
Ohio State and Michigan are both going to force Allar to beat them. They’re going to take the run away and force Allar to look down field. Penn State will assuredly need to figure out a way to get the ball down field and often against.
Of course, Penn State might already have those options seeing as it hasn’t had to go deep into the playbook to win in any of the five games this season.