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Drew Allar & Beau Pribula Share Snaps As Penn State Offense Flexes Depth

You only get one chance to make a first impression.

Drew Allar did just that against West Virginia last week, as he threw for 325 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions against the Mountaineers. It was the entrance that Penn State fans had waited on since Allar committed just shy of 30 months earlier.

That wasn’t Allar’s performance against Delaware.

The sophomore threw for 22 completions on 26 attempts, 204 passing yards, and one passing touchdown. He also used his feet to pick up an extra 27 yards and another touchdown. Allar left the field after one drive in the second half, his work complete. Penn State was leading 42-7 when Beau Pribula entered the game. Twenty-four minutes later, the Nittany Lions had their second win of the season, defeating the Blue Hens 63-7.

Despite leaving early, Allar was “not at all” frustrated. A year ago, he came onto the field only when four-year starter Sean Clifford had taken care of business. Now, he heads to the bench to let his backups get reps after a beatdown of an FCS program.

“Everybody on this team works extremely hard,” Allar said after the game. “Most people don’t know how hard we really work, especially in the summer when there are not many classes going on… And it’s really good to see those guys that maybe are young or inexperienced get out and get their first experience, especially in a home environment like Beaver Stadium.”

Pribula came into the West Virginia game after James Franklin felt that victory was imminent for his side. But the redshirt freshman only played one drive, scoring his first collegiate touchdown on a quick dash into the endzone. Against Delaware, Pribula played nearly an entire half and had plenty of time to toy with the Blue Hens defense.

“It’s always good to get experience and play in the game,” Pribula said afterward. “Obviously, it’s a lot of fun to get to get reps. I got a good amount of reps today and it’s good for experience. And to put successful drives together, that’s my main goal.”

Pribula finished the game with 22 yards passing on three completions from five attempts. His rushing was much better: 49 yards on eight attempts, paired with another touchdown.

For some, Pribula is the second option that Penn State can put in the game when the Nittany Lions have tamed an FCS team looking for an upset. It’s how Pribula, the brother of former Delaware quarterback Cade Pribula, has been used thus far. Franklin pulls Allar, puts in Pribula, and rings the victory bell as he walks off the field.

But Franklin has long insisted that Pribula can be more than just the No. 2 quarterback. For as long as the Nittany Lions head coach said that Allar was competing for the starting quarterback role with Pribula, he also said that both quarterbacks provide different styles of play that Penn State can use. Allar has his throwing capabilities and the ability to place balls where he chooses. Pribula has shifty feet and can act as another running or passing option for the Nittany Lions.

“We talked about the quarterback room, Beau coming in and showing he’s able to move the offense as well and make plays and do it in a different way,” Franklin said after the Delaware game. “And now defensively, people are watching that saying, ‘We have to prepare for this guy.’ Because now that Beau has shown what he can do, you start to mix Beau in a drive or for a couple of series in a game and you have to spend a ton of time preparing for for that.”

Quarterback wasn’t the only position that Franklin rotated. Running backs Trey Potts, Tank Smith, and Tyler Holzworth all saw playing time, combining for 95 yards. Franklin and his staff even rotated which positions he emphasized against the Blue Hens. When playing West Virginia, Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton combined for 23 rushing attempts, six fewer plays than Allar’s 29 pass attempts. Against Delaware, the team’s starting running backs combined for 31 rushing attempts to Allar’s 26 passing attempts.

And after Penn State largely ignored its tight ends against the Mountaineers, they were critical against Delaware. Theo Johnson and Tyler Warren, the Nittany Lions’ top options at the position, caught just one pass attempt between the two of them on three targets. Against the Blue Hens, they caught all eight of their targets for 51 yards and a touchdown. Warren was Penn State’s second-best receiver, catching six passes for 37 yards and the touchdown.

Penn State has plenty of offensive firepower in its starters. Singleton and Allen are good enough to start for nearly any team in college football. And Allar, while still young and often raw, could make the same claim for himself. But behind those starters lies a group of backups waiting for their chance, Franklin said. Every day is a competition, but everyone works toward a team goal.

Drew Allar might be Penn State’s starting quarterback, but he is far from its only quarterback. When the Nittany Lions need a change of pace, Pribula is always available. And he’s more than ready to play.

“Anything I can do to help this offense and create a different threat, I’m completely willing to do that and get in the games and do what I have to do to help move the offense and create a different element,” Pribula said.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and an associate editor at Onward State. He covers Penn State football, and enjoys yelling on Twitter about Philadelphia/Penn State sports. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. Please direct all praise about punters toward him on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email ([email protected]).

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