Drew Allar Resilient In Penn State Football’s Win Over Indiana
Drew Allar took a hit, went to the sideline, and realized he threw an interception at Penn State’s 21-yard line. It was a pivotal moment with five minutes left in the game, and the Nittany Lions were clinging to a 24-21 lead against a feisty Indiana team.
“I didn’t even know I threw an interception until I got to the sideline after I got hit because usually, you hear the crowd react and there was no reaction, so honestly, I thought it was an incomplete pass. And then I looked back and saw the defense on the field and I was like ‘Oh, I really just threw an interception right there?'” he said.
After the Hoosiers settled for a game-tying field goal, Allar led the offense back onto the field. On the third play of the drive, he looked downfield toward KeAndre Lambert-Smith, saw he was open, and hit him with a dime en route to a 57-yard touchdown that grabbed the lead and won the game.
The final minutes of the game encapsulated the last week for the sophomore quarterback. He made what could have been a fatal mistake against the Hoosiers, but responded by throwing a touchdown on the next drive. He had a subpar performance against Ohio State last week, but rebounded against Indiana Saturday. After the game, he stressed the importance of having a short-term memory and being able to move on after ugly performances or mistakes.
“You have to flush it. You can’t dwell on the past,” he said. “I took Saturday night to reflect on it and early into Sunday morning and as soon as we got to practice, I flipped the switch to the next opponent. So, I kind of put last week behind me on Sunday evening.”
Allar ended up throwing 210 yards, three touchdowns, one interception, and maintained a 65% completion rate. It is the most yards he’s thrown since week one, and the three touchdowns are tied for his second-most of the season. Not only are those numbers an improvement over last week’s, but both his resiliency and strong mental toughness following his first career loss and interception were evident.
The resiliency and mental toughness were important to see from a young quarterback, especially after a tough outing the week prior. It looked as if things were about to go awry again with the Hoosiers mounting a comeback attempt late in the game, but Allar’s touchdown pass slammed the door shut on any chance of that happening. Allar, as he tends to do, did not give himself credit, but rather the team for the way it handled the adversity after last week’s game and responding by winning today.
“I don’t know if it’s more satisfying. I think it was great resiliency from not only the offense but from the defense and special teams,” he said. “We were not perfect in any way today. We’re the first to admit that it definitely wasn’t as clean as we would’ve liked it to be on the offensive end, but at the end of the day we found a way to win.”
Penn State’s first three drives ended in punts, which resulted in some scattered boos that grew louder each time. It was another slow start, and Allar and the offense were even more frustrated because things couldn’t get going. However, the group kept a positive mindset and battled through.
“I think we had a really good mindset offensively,” he said. “We were doing good things, but it obviously wasn’t the result we wanted, and nobody’s more frustrated than us when we can’t get things going because of how much time and effort we put into the game plan each week. It’s really frustrating when you can’t get going as fast as you would have liked.”
As the game went on, the execution improved and Penn State got its act together on the offensive side of the ball.
“There were just simple things again that were missing or we weren’t able to do in the beginning, and then we finally fixed those things and we were able to adjust to what they were doing,” he said.
Ultimately, Saturday was a bounce-back performance for Allar and the offense, and while it wasn’t pretty, the group got it done. For them, it’s a blueprint and a confidence booster.
“I think it gives us confidence really as a whole team because of the resiliency and adversity we faced not only today but the whole week,” he said. “We were able to bounce back and find a way to win a game and that’s just something that can’t be understated.”
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For the second year in a row, the Land Grant Trophy is headed back to State College.
Tickets for the event will go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, December 1.
Were the Ford Field end zones Penn State fans?