Penn State Football’s Offense Aiming To Bounce Back In White Out Showcase Against Iowa
Despite a 30-13 win on the road against Illinois, Penn State football’s offense often looked shaky in the Nittany Lions’ first Big Ten game of the season. However, with White Out conditions in the air, Drew Allar and the Nittany Lion attack said they’re prepared to regain their stride on Saturday against Iowa.
In Allar’s first two career starts against West Virginia and Delaware, he threw for a combined 43-for-55 and five touchdowns but completed just 48.5% of his passes without a score against the Fighting Illini.
“Obviously we weren’t where we wanted to be this past weekend, but I think it’s easy to correct if we focus on it throughout the practices this week,” Allar said.
James Franklin said he knows what to expect when No. 24 Iowa comes to Happy Valley, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Hawkeye defense, which Franklin described as “high level,” has allowed just over 12 points per game throughout its 3-0 start to the season.
The Iowa defense held opposing teams to only 3.5 yards per carry and hasn’t allowed a single touchdown on the ground this season. The Penn State offense, meanwhile, relied heavily on its run game, which has produced 208.3 yards per game and 10 total touchdowns.
After combining for 271 rushing yards in their first two games, the dangerous backfield tandem of Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton combined for just 91 rushing yards against Illinois. Despite this performance, positivity still appears to surround the team.
“We feel really good about where we’re at as an offense right now,” tight end Theo Johnson said. “It’s reassuring for us that we’ve been doing well so far and have so much more room to grow.”
The tight ends could play an important role against Iowa. In last year’s White Out game against Minnesota, Johnson reeled in five catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. However, through three games this season, he has just four receptions for 46 yards and hasn’t reached the end zone, though Tyler Warren, the team’s other top tight end, has recorded 81 receiving yards and caught two touchdown passes.
Franklin also sounded positive about Penn State’s turnover rate. He noted after the Illinois game and at a midweek media availability that the Nittany Lions had won the game’s turnover battle.
“While the defense had five takeaways, the fact that we had zero turnovers on offense is just as important,” Franklin said.
The Nittany Lions have also been trying to figure out how to create more explosive plays since the start of the season. Penn State’s running backs have struggled to create big gains throughout the first three games, but have manipulated the passing game to create momentum on several occasions.
“It’s a big part of our philosophy,” Johnson said. “Explosive plays are a huge part of not only this offense but success in winning football games.”
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