Penn State’s Post-UMass Report Card
Penn State football returned to Beaver Stadium after a three-week hiatus and delivered a 63-0 beatdown of the UMass Minutemen on Saturday.
Penn State’s defense shut out its second straight opponent in Beaver Stadium and hasn’t allowed a point in the past 10 quarters in front of the home crowd.
Now, Penn State will head to Columbus, Ohio, to face Ohio State for a top-10 matchup. Before that happens, though, let’s take a look at how each position group fared against the Minutemen.
Drew Allar didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter and still came away with 16 completions for 162 yards and three touchdowns while also adding a tush-push touchdown. Allar’s 70% completion rate was his best since the game against Delaware where he went 22-26.
Allar finally started to look deep and take some shots downfield Saturday, but couldn’t connect on any attempt. Allar’s longest of the night was a 30-yard touchdown pass to Theo Johnson with 10 yards coming after the catch.
Beau Pribula was used as a running back once again but finished with 59 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.
Running Backs: A
The Nittany Lions’ top two running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen combined for 147 yards and a touchdown. Penn State’s top duo failed to be explosive, with Allen’s 18-yard rush being the longest for the two main backs.
Tank Smith and Trey Potts saw action late with Potts running once for a two-yard touchdown, while Smith recorded the longest Penn State rush of the year with a 39-yard strike on his second attempt.
Wide Receivers: B
Allar only connected with KeAndre Lambert-Smith and Trey Wallace during Saturday’s win and instead looked for his tight ends as reliable pass-catching targets.
Lambert-Smith struggled to create separation on the deep shots that Allar took and managed six catches for 30 yards but did record a drop.
Wallace received his first target since the game against Delaware and ended up second on the team in receiving yards with 44 on three receptions.
Tight Ends: A+
Theo Johnson and Tyler Warren were the recipients of every Allar touchdown pass as the young gunslinger looked to his tight ends as a reliable pass-catching target instead of his wide receivers.
Johnson hadn’t found the end zone this season prior to Saturday’s game but caught two touchdowns against the Minutemen. The Canadian ended the game with four catches for 66 yards along with his two touchdowns.
Warren didn’t have quite as big an impact as Johnson did, but still notched 14 yards and a touchdown on two receptions.
Offensive Line: A
The offensive line was without JB Nelson on Saturday, but the lineman will return eventually as Franklin confirmed his injury isn’t season-ending.
The line allowed a sack on the first drive of the game but was very consistent throughout the rest of the contest. Penn State rushed for 246 total yards, and Allar was provided with a solid pocket to throw from for the majority of the game. UMass managed just one sack and three tackles-for-loss during the tilt.
Front Seven: A+
Penn State’s front seven was on pace to break the single-game sack record at halftime on Saturday but slowed down in the second half and ended the game with seven total sacks. Linebacker Curtis Jacobs led the way with five total tackles and a tackle for loss while Adisa Isaac recorded 2.5 sacks.
UMass couldn’t find anywhere to run throughout the first half and went to the locker room with just one rushing yard through the first 30 minutes of play. Aside from stifling the run game, the front seven recorded 14 total tackles for loss and were constantly a presence in the Minutemen backfield.
While the front seven held the Minutemen to one first-half rushing yard, the secondary shut down the passing game and allowed only 25 yards through the first two quarters.
Daequan Hardy got in the way of two passes, while Dom DeLuca also recorded a pass breakup. Keaton Ellis recorded Penn State’s only takeaway on Saturday in the form of an interception that was returned for a touchdown before a flag negated the score but left the Nittany Lions with good field position.
Special Teams: A+
Penn State’s punt return was the story of the game, with Daequan Hardy returning two punts for touchdowns, a single-game record. Before the Minutemen, Hardy hadn’t attempted any punt returns as Franklin opted for Kaden Saunders to handle the job through the first five games.
Penn State didn’t attempt any field goals on Saturday, and the field goal kickers converted every extra-point attempt. Punter Riley Thompson was only called upon once in the win where he booted a 47-yarder that pinned the Minutemen at their own 10-yard line.
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About the Author
For the second year in a row, the Land Grant Trophy is headed back to State College.
Voting is now open and closes on Wednesday, November 29.
Head coach Mike Rhoades lost his first matchup against his former team.