Drew Allar failed his first big test as the Penn State starting quarterback
But Saturday, he has a shot at redemption.
Against Ohio State, Allar went 18-for-42. He threw for just 191 yards and a touchdown. Penn State lost the game, 20-12. Ohio State’s now ranked No. 1 in the country by the College Football Playoff committee.
The good news for Allar is that Michigan is every bit as good as Ohio State, if not better. So leading his team to victory Saturday before 107,000+ home fans would be a huge moment for the 19-year-old.
The bad news is that Michigan is every bit as good as Ohio State, if not better, and its exceptional defense is capable of giving Allar the same rotten feeling he had in Columbus.
Allar’s aware of both the chance and challenge, that’s ahead of him.
“It’s definitely a great opportunity,” QB1 told reporters via Zoom late Tuesday morning. “Obviously, Michigan is a great team on both sides of the ball. (I have a) tremendous amount of respect for them. They’re a very well-coached team, and, yeah, just looking at it from the past couple of days, breaking down their defense, they’re a very sound group, they don’t make a lot of mistakes.”
Michigan certainly doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. UM ranks No. 1 in the country in total defense, with Penn State No. 2.
In his weekly press conference Tuesday, coach James Franklin mentioned nickelback Mike Sainristil, linebackers Michael Barrett and Junior Colson, defensive ends Braiden McGregor and Jaylen Harrell, defensive tackle Mason Graham and cornerback Will Johnson.
So what specifically does Michigan’s defense do well?
“They’re very consistent,” Drew Allar said. “Obviously, they have a lot of talent… they’re pretty rangy, have pretty long arms. So they can be physical with receivers, but they also do a really good job of just, I guess, staying in front of them from their point of view. They don’t let many guys get past them, free runners.”
“And they’re really good tacklers, too. That’s one thing I’ve noticed on film. They’re not afraid to go in and just tackle, shed a block. So it’s going to be a huge challenge for us this week, just because, they’re very disciplined. They’re going to be where they’re supposed to be, and we just have to do everything we can in our power just to take every opportunity that we have out there on Saturday and just maximize it.”
For Allar, Michigan is “definitely going to be a challenge.
“But it’s something we look forward to,” he said, just because it’s one of the bigger games on our schedule. But, at the end of the day, we just have to prepare like we’ve been doing the past couple of weeks and just go out and practice hard.”
Allar is coming off what many feel was the best game of his college career, going 25-for-34 for 240 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
He and the offense will need to keep that up Saturday.
“It’s definitely nice to get that rolling,” Allar said. “We just want to keep building off that confidence, for sure… So, yeah, I’m excited for the opportunity and it’s a really good secondary we’re going against, so it’s going to be a fun one.”
For Drew Allar, Penn State can’t afford to shoot itself in the foot.
“It’s one of those games where we can’t kill ourselves with mistakes,” Allar said, “because they’ll capitalize on those mistakes. We just have to do a good job of just eliminating all the unforced errors that could come back and bite us.”