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Analyzing Post-Purdue Reactions For Penn State Football

After the anticipation and excitement of taking on Purdue in a prime-time, season-opening matchup, Penn State football managed to escape West Lafayette with a 35-31 victory.

Capped off by a touchdown toss to Keyvone Lee, Sean Clifford led an eight-play, 80-yard game-winning drive in just 1:25 to bring home the win. Drew Allar also checked into the game during Clifford’s 26-minute absence and went 2-for-4 for 26 yards passing, which was met with excitement by Penn Staters across the country, but leaves room for some interesting conversation surrounding the quarterback room.

As Penn State prepares for its home opener against Ohio University, let’s discuss some hot takes.

‘It’s Time To Pull The Plug On Clifford And Make Allar The Starting Quarterback’

Frankie Marzano: Hold your horses. I think Allar looked great for a true freshman that didn’t know he was about to make his college football debut, but Clifford hasn’t given anyone a reason to doubt him. In fact, he gave Penn Staters a reason to be confident in him as QB1 after leading Penn State’s game-winning drive Thursday night. Yes, the pick-six was terrible, but he kept his composure and recovered when the team needed it most, which is what good quarterbacks do. As long as he’s healthy, I’m still on the Clifford train.

Ryan Parsons: The saying goes that the most popular player on a football team is the backup quarterback. That holds even more true when the backup is one of the most exciting prospects your program has had in years and showed lots of promise in a brief game appearance. Allar is the QB of the future, but Penn State would be wise to ride Clifford out. Unless the wheels fully fall off, that is.

Sam Fremin: Allar is one of the most hyped Penn State quarterbacks in recent memory. After his short stint against Purdue, the hype seems pretty deserved. However, he has only thrown four passes in a competitive environment. I’m not ready to anoint him the starter off such a small sample size, as impressive as it is. Clifford’s interception was bad, but his game-winning drive can’t be ignored. It’s the precise experience-based reason Franklin was happy to bring him back. Clifford is the most likely quarterback to lead this team to success. If he proves otherwise, give the keys to Allar.

Gabe Angieri: Give me a break. Sean Clifford scored five touchdowns and led a game-winning drive in the season opener. Drew Allar starting over him shouldn’t even be a conversation yet. If Clifford actually starts to struggle this season, then we can start a quarterback controversy. For now, Clifford is undoubtedly QB1.

“One Of The Freshman Running Backs Will Win The Job By The End Of The Year’

Frankie Marzano: At this point, I would just love for both freshmen to get the majority of the carries instead of rotating the running backs on every drive. But, if I had to pick a side, I think Nick Singleton will eventually pull away with the starting job, but Kaytron Allen isn’t far behind him. Both freshmen had solid performances against Purdue, which is a reason to hope that one of them pull away as the starter by the end of the season. If Keyvone Lee or even Devyn Ford don’t step up soon, I don’t see either of them staying in the rotation.

Ryan Parsons: Kaytron Allen led the team in rushing yards against Purdue, so this is far from a hot take. The program still seems to have lots of confidence in Keyvone Lee, so one of Allen or Nick Singleton would have to get really hot to uproot him at this point. But, don’t be surprised if the freshmen are getting the majority of the carries.

Sam Fremin: Is this a hot take? Keyvone Lee is better than fans give him credit for, but both Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen showed significantly more burst in their snaps. Singleton and Allen hit holes more aggressively, and Lee doesn’t look nearly as light on his feet. Lee’s not bad, but he might not be the team’s best back.

Gabe Angieri: I’m fully on the Nick Singleton hype train, so I don’t think this is a hot take at all. When you add in Kaytron Allen, I think it’s very possible one of the true freshmen take control sooner rather than later unless the Nittany Lions continue to roll out the questionable running back rotation every single game.

‘The Offensive Line Hasn’t Improved’

Frankie Marzano: If you’re basing this statement on the Purdue game, I think it’s too early to tell whether or not it got better in the offseason. On paper, though, I think it has improved. Either way, we’re going to have to wait until the Nittany Lions travel to Auburn to find out.

Ryan Parsons: It’s too early to say this for sure, but it didn’t look noticeably better against Purdue. Caedan Wallace still has some major issues to work out, and Penn State is still toying with rotations, so time will tell here.

Sam Fremin: Hasn’t improved at all? I don’t know about that. Purdue didn’t really tell us anything concrete. It certainly hasn’t improved to a point that seems conducive to long-term success.

Gabe Angieri: It’s too early to tell. Was I impressed Thursday night? Not in the slightest. However, you can’t rush to this conclusion after the season opener.

‘James Franklin Is Right In Saying That Was A ‘Character Win’ For The Program’

Frankie Marzano: Hell yes, he’s right. If you think that’s not true, I’d love to see you go on the road to Purdue for a prime-time, Thursday-night opening game, and tell me how you do. While Michigan was out playing Colorado State and Iowa struggled to take down South Dakota State, Penn State was thrown into the belly of the beast with a tough, Big Ten road game to open its schedule.

There’s no preseason in college football, so it’s hard to predict what issues will pop up in a game situation, no matter how much preparation you do before the game. Considering that Penn State was down one touchdown with three minutes left and Purdue had all the momentum in the world in its home stadium, this is definitely a character win. If you don’t think it is, then you’re wrong.

Ryan Parsons: This isn’t an overreaction at all. It may have felt like an “ugly win” at first, but it’s completely possible that Purdue ends up winning 8 or 9 games this year. Regardless, the grit both sides of the ball showed down the stretch shouldn’t be taken for granted. That was gutsy.

Sam Fremin: Oh, obviously. Facing Purdue’s tumultuous Black Out conditions, Penn State managed to battle back from a deficit. Character wins come in the face of situational adversity, but more importantly they come in the face of personal adversity. The Nittany Lions self-sabotaged for a lot of the second half and yet they still overcame. They controlled their own fate and believed in themselves…even if I admittedly didn’t.

Gabe Angieri: Was this game ugly? Sure. Did I enjoy any of it? Not at all. However, it most certainly was a character win when you consider how it unfolded. In a game they very easily could’ve lost, the Nittany Lions battled back in a tough road environment to capture a gritty opening-week win. Sounds like a character win to me.

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