Analyzing Post-Indiana Reactions For Penn State Football

When many thought its season was dead, Penn State marched into Bloomington and dominated Indiana with a 45-14 win Saturday.

Penn State’s quarterback controversy was a big topic of discussion heading into the game, and there may not have been much resolved there. Sean Clifford, despite throwing a terrible interception in the first half, completed 15-of-23 passes for 229 yards. Meanwhile, true freshman Drew Allar got some playing time too, completing 9-of-12 passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

Nonetheless, it was a great all-around win for the Nittany Lions to pick up. So, let’s look into some takes from Saturday.

‘Starting Sean Clifford Was The Wrong Decision’

Frankie Marzano: There have always been, and probably always will be, two sides to this argument. If you’re a fan who would like to see Penn State maximize the rest of its season, make a solid New Year’s Six bowl game, and finish the season with two losses, then Sean Clifford is your guy. But, if you’re more concerned with building for the future and are already willing to throw this season away, you probably want to see Allar. Personally, I fall more in the latter category, but I still don’t think starting Clifford was the wrong move. He got the job done and got a win for Penn State. That’s all that matters.

Sam Fremin: I don’t think it was the wrong decision. That said, I was very surprised to see Allar enter the game as late he did. There are always things to criticize coaches over, but I usually take them at their word about the quarterback.

Ryan Parsons: This isn’t that hot of a take. I don’t know if it was necessarily the wrong decision, but it feels like the game would’ve had the same outcome if Allar played all the way through. I think the true freshman should’ve at least started the second half, but as James Franklin said, we only have 1% of the information.

Gabe Angieri: If you think it was the wrong decision, I really can’t blame you. There’s an argument to be made that Allar should just start the rest of the season in an attempt to build toward the future. However, in terms of wins, Clifford led the Nittany Lions to one on Saturday. You can’t really argue that.

‘Kaytron Allen Is Better Than Nick Singleton’

Frankie Marzano: In terms of being an all-around back, Allen is the better choice right now. I think if Singleton had Kaytron’s vision and ability to run after contact, he’d be the best running back in college football. But the two still complement each other very well, and I have full faith that both will continue to get better and use it to their advantage to generate some healthy competition in the Penn State running back room.

Sam Fremin: I still stand by the fact that Allen is more well-rounded than Singleton currently, though, Singleton possesses the higher ceiling. With that being said, “better” is a strong word. At this stage in their careers, they just offer different skill sets.

Ryan Parsons: This is false. Allen’s hat trick and huge check-down pass plays overshadowed the fact that Singleton had a comparable performance on the ground. Allen might be the more complete back right now thanks to his high school appearance, but neither he nor Singleton are necessarily “better” than each other.

Gabe Angieri: I think they’re both really good. Singleton had a hot start to the season, while Allen has impressed as of late. They’re both true freshmen, so expecting either of them to be flawless is silly. I’m not ready to say that Allen is “better” just because of a few good games. They’re both insanely talented, and I believe both will be a huge part of Penn State’s future.

‘Penn State’s Remaining Schedule Looks Tougher After Last Week’s Games’

Frankie Marzano: Personally, I never thought it was as easy as people would’ve thought. It’s easy to let Maryland slip through your fingers if you overlook the Terps, especially with Taulia Tagovailoa under center. That will be a massive game for Maryland. Michigan State is also a pesky team and always has been for Penn State. Many people forget that the Spartans almost spoiled Penn State’s Big Ten championship run in the last game of the 2016 season.

Sam Fremin: When are fans going to learn that no Big Ten game is easy? I still think the Nittany Lions win out, but that’s not a given.

Ryan Parsons: The final stretch doesn’t feel as much like a shoo-in as it did last week. Michigan State took down a ranked Illinois team on the road, and Rutgers gave Michigan a true run for its money. Maryland couldn’t take care of business in Madison, but the Terrapins have been sneaky good all along. 

Gabe Angieri: No one should assume that Penn State is going to win out. It’s far from a given. Any team left on the schedule could upset the Nittany Lions. Do I expect them to win out? Yes, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

‘Manny Diaz Will Move On To A Head Coaching Role After The Season’

Frankie Marzano: This is the most likely scenario, especially given his prior head coaching experience. On the other hand, he could take one more season at Penn State to possibly hold out for a better job in the future.

Sam Fremin: I’m going to take a different crack at this and say he stays put after this season. Diaz certainly has the ability to succeed in a head coaching role, but I think he can afford to be choosy. Similar to my beloved Dallas Cowboys’ Dan Quinn, Diaz doesn’t need to jump at the first job offered. At this stage, I think he passes on the current job openings and reassesses next season. Fans should hope that’s the case, at least.

Ryan Parsons: Unfortunately, this feels inevitable. But one more season in Happy Valley wouldn’t shock me, either.

Gabe Angieri: I think this is pretty up in the air right now. Either scenario wouldn’t shock me at all. My gut is telling me he stays in Happy Valley for one more year, though.

‘The Season Is Less Interesting Now That A New Year’s Six Bowl Game Is Not Likely’

Frankie Marzano: If anything, it probably makes it more fun now that Penn State will be competing for a Rose Bowl bid. Even if it seems unlikely now, anything can happen, and college football is weird. After a few upsets, the Nittany Lions can quickly find themselves back in the New Year’s Six discussions.

Sam Fremin: I’m fascinated by this team. Even if they lost at Indiana, this would be one of the more interesting years in recent memory.

Ryan Parsons: Alabama’s loss truly complicates things. But, I would arguably say it makes things more interesting. Instead of Penn State being a near-lock for the Orange Bowl, it now can vie for a Rose Bowl bid if a few things go its way. Let’s root for chaos, baby.

Gabe Angieri: Penn State could potentially smell the roses. I think that’s very interesting. That’s going to be a really fun storyline down the stretch of the season.

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