Analyzing Post-Delaware Reactions For Penn State Football
Penn State football defeated Delaware 63-7 Saturday to stay undefeated in the 2023 season. After putting the team up by 35 points early in the third quarter, Drew Allar and the first-team offense left the game to let Beau Pribula and the second-stringers take over. If anything, the game was a tune-up for the Big Ten play that begins this week against Illinois.
That didn’t stop Penn State fans from having opinions. We picked some of the most notable hot takes from Nittany Lion fans and gave them to our football writers to break down.
“Penn State Didn’t Play A Real Team”
Joe Lister: Correct. Delaware is an FCS team for a reason. It may be a good FCS team, but those guys are playing second-level college football. However, that doesn’t mean that this win doesn’t necessarily “count.” It just means that Penn State got a tune-up game where it can analyze where the team looks really good, and how it can run different types of offense. There wasn’t a lot to critique from this game (outside of Tyler Elsdon’s missed tackle), but it gave the running backs and tight ends a chance to get more reps on offense and for just about everyone to get reps on defense. That’s valuable.
CJ Doebler: Yup. With only the slightest disrespect toward Delaware, this one was a cupcake. With Delaware being an FCS team, the outcome of this game was almost a foregone conclusion even before the opening kick. With that being said, playing an FCS opponent is an excellent opportunity to test depth and experiment with different personnel packages. While Delaware might not go down as a “real” team, it’s a team that helped Penn State gather important data about itself before any actual teams arrive.
Nolan Wick: I get it. Although Delaware is a very good FCS team, it was never going to put up a good fight against Penn State. The point of games like this isn’t for a good matchup but for the bigger teams to prepare their starters for more meaningful games and for coaches to evaluate the roster.
“Dom DeLuca Hurts Penn State”
Joe Lister: The following sentence is dedicated to the guy in our Twitter comments whose critiques of Dom DeLuca quickly devolved into misogynistic clichés: You are a bum.
I honestly don’t get the hate for DeLuca. At worst, he’s Penn State’s vibes guy, and every good team needs a vibes guy. He’s also a pretty good linebacker — might I note that he had a pick-six? People are acting as if DeLuca is starting every game and allowing 80 rushing yards all on his own. He’s not. He’s a special teams menace who gets second-string reps at linebacker and adds good depth. Again, he’s also just a cool guy.
CJ Doebler: I had no clue Dom DeLuca was so controversial. After being given the No. 0 jersey over the offseason, the linebacker and special teams ace has cemented himself as a leader both on and off the field. DeLuca normally gets a few second-string reps on the defense, but the majority of DeLuca’s on-field presence is on special teams. Against Delaware, however, DeLuca got a lot of playing time with the defense. The linebacker’s star moment came when he jumped in front of a pass and returned it 26 yards for a pick-six. Apparently, some Twitter trolls don’t like what they’ve seen so far. I get it, I personally hate when a player from a team I like records a pick-six. I also hate when that same player breaks up a pass (should’ve been another pick but still a positive defensive stat). If that player also recorded a tackle-for-loss during the season opener, he has to go. In all seriousness, DeLuca does hurt teams, just not his own.
Nolan Wick: That’s outrageous. One of the biggest moments of the game was Dom DeLuca’s pick-six. If you believe this is true, you’re nothing but a simpleton.
“Beau Pribula Is Trace McSorley Reincarnate”
Joe Lister: Sure, I suppose. I was a USC fan growing up, so my most notable memory of Trace McSorley was him losing in the Rose Bowl. Sorry. That being said, I really like Pribula. If James Franklin can get him to stick around until after the Drew Allar era, that would be truly special. If Pribula can beat out Jaxon Smolik in the quarterback competition in two years’ time is a different story…
CJ Doebler: They’re similar. Beau Pribiula and Trace McSorley play quarterback with the same style, but I’m not sure I’ve seen enough of Pribula to fully commit to the comparison. McSorley was listed as 6’0”, 201 pounds during his final season with Penn State, while Pribula is listed as 6’2”, 203 pounds. James Franklin noted the comparisons during a press conference earlier in the season, saying Pribula is like a bigger McSorley. I think it’s a little too early to know for sure, but he looks impressive so far.
Nolan Wick: They’re definitely similar. Both quarterbacks have speed and aren’t afraid to use it.
“Drew Allar Should’ve Stayed In The Game Longer”
Joe Lister: There was really no reason to keep Drew Allar in the game longer than Franklin already did. Allar did his job, and Franklin waited until he could be confident that Delaware was dead and buried to take him out. Getting Pribula and the second team reps is important. Sure, Franklin could have stat-padded Allar if he really wants his quarterback to be a Heisman contender, but would you rather have Allar get an extra 100 passing yards and risk injury, or rest him up for a tougher opponent in Illinois? I know which one I’m taking.
CJ Doebler: If anything, he could’ve been pulled sooner. There was no reason for the starters to be on the field any longer than they had to be during the blowout, and I think Franklin made the right call switching to the backups when he did. Because Beau Pribula has some questions as to how big his role in the offense is going to be this season, I think giving him meaningful in-game reps was very important for the staff to be able to evaluate what he can bring to the team. Allar definitely has a long season ahead of him, and the first-half performance from the young quarterback was plenty for Franklin to bring him to the sideline confident in the lead-up to Illinois.
Nolan Wick: I don’t think so. When you’re up by that much at the half, it’s time to give the backups a chance to play.
“Penn State Gave Up A Touchdown To Delaware, So The Team Is Garbage”
Joe Lister: I’m not sure that anyone was really thinking this postgame, but some folks seemed pretty upset when the score was 14-7 for the Nittany Lions. It’s an understandable frustration, but it really isn’t all that deep. Penn State made one mistake and paid for it. It still scored nine touchdowns. Jaxon Smolik got in the game, for goodness sake. The Nittany Lions did what they were expected to do, and now they can focus on their next game.
CJ Doebler: Mistakes happen, let’s not go overboard. Even though the mistake in question was a really big one, I don’t think it’s anything to be upset about. Franklin admitted that his linebackers weren’t gap-sound, and a Tyler Elsdon missed tackle gave Marcus Yarns plenty of running room. The touchdown is definitely a demerit on the defense, and the fact that it came against FCS opponent Delaware isn’t reassuring. Still, I have faith that it won’t be a recurring issue once the front seven and the defense as a whole get into midseason form.
Nolan Wick: I know, right? Winning that big simply means they aren’t that good.
“Kaytron Allen Isn’t A Great Running Back”
Joe Lister: We actually didn’t hear this one online, but some of our writers said that there were people in the student section complaining when Kaytron Allen was getting reps over Nick Singleton. Just for the record: Penn State football is nowhere near where it is without Allen. Sure, he doesn’t get the big, sexy touchdown play, but Allen is the player that gets you to the end zone nonetheless. Allen had more than double the yardage that Singleton had against Delaware. Allen’s shifty feet make him very difficult to tackle, and he’s going to get the offense to the 15-yard-line so that Allar and Singleton finish the job. It’s not the world’s coolest gig, but he does a great job at it.
CJ Doebler: False. Kaytron Allen made the most of his start on Saturday, and I think he’s more than earned the “co-starter” spot. Allen and Nick Singleton combined for four touchdowns and over 150 yards on the ground Saturday, despite not playing much in the second half. I liked the system the way that Franklin used the two backs on Saturday, giving Allen most of the carries through the middle of the field and using Singleton to finish the job. Allen and Singleton are both great running backs, and it’s working out for Penn State.
Nolan Wick: That’s a nice joke. You really made me laugh! Kaytron Allen would be the RB1 on most teams in America.
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About the Author
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