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Penn State Football’s Post-Maryland Report Card

That was a pretty win, folks.

All facets of the offense were clicking on Saturday as the Nittany Lions defeated the Maryland Terrapins 51-15 behind a defense that also played lights-out. Wide receiver Dante Cephas had a career game in an offense that finally looked comfortable, while the defense exercised the talent that litters its depth chart.

Before the Wolverines come to town next week, let’s take a look at how each position group fared against Maryland.

Quarterbacks: A+

This might’ve been Drew Allar’s best game yet. The young quarterback threw his first interception a week ago and immediately bounced back with a game-winning touchdown pass to KeAndre Lambert-Smith, creating momentum that translated to Saturday’s game.

Allar threw for 240 yards on 34 attempts with a 74% completion rate with four touchdowns during the blowout win. Allar’s 240 yards were his most since the first game of the season, and the fifth time he’s cracked the 200-yard mark this season. Allar has only thrown four touchdown passes one other time this season in the White Out against Iowa. Allar also used his legs during the win, carrying four times for 39 yards.

Perhaps the biggest development from the quarterbacks was the debut of the Beau Pribula package. Pribula trotted onto the field for a red-zone play and tried rushing up the middle to no avail. Allar returned to the field on the very next play, and Penn State executed one of its best plays of the season that culminated in a touchdown pass from Allar to tight end Theo Johnson.

Running Backs: A-

Kaytron Allen once again led the running back room, this time with 91 rushing yards and a touchdown. Fellow running back Nick Singleton only managed 20 yards on the ground which was good for third on the team behind Allar. Allen managed to break away a few times on Saturday with his longest rush of the day being 19 yards.

James Franklin alternated backs in almost every series, but Singleton could never get going. Allen scored the lone touchdown for the running backs, but Pribula also punched one in on the ground.

Wide Receivers: A+

After weeks of criticism surrounding the group, the wide receivers showed up against Maryland. Allar’s top target, Lambert-Smith, caught eight of his 12 targets for 95 yards with a long of 38. Dante Cephas stepped up in Trey Wallace’s absence and had a career day with two touchdowns on six catches for 53 yards.

Allar also completed a pass to Omari Evans on a Saturday that saw multiple wide receiver groupings rotate in and out for the majority of the game.

Tight Ends: A+

When the wide receivers and tight ends are firing on all cylinders, the passing game looks borderline unstoppable.

The tight ends lent themselves well to the passing game on Saturday with Tyler Warren, Johnson, and Khalil Dinkins all catching passes from Allar.

Johnson ended the game with four catches for 19 yards and a touchdown, while Warren also caught four passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. Dinkins also recorded one catch good for 16 yards in the win.

Offensive Line: A

The offensive line has struggled lately, but it was back in form against Maryland.

The running backs had one of their better days on the ground as the offensive line managed to open up nice holes for the backs to run through and amassed 158 yards on the ground.

Allar also had a consistent pocket to throw from as the Terps only recorded one sack and two tackles for loss.

Front Seven: A+

Saturday was a dominant showing for the front seven as it held the Terps to -49 rushing yards on the day. Even without the sacks, the Terps had just -2 yards.

Penn State consistently found itself in the Maryland backfield, recording six sacks and 12 tackles for loss. Linebacker Abdul Carter led the front seven with six total tackles, one sack, and one tackle for loss.

Defensive end Chop Robinson and Amin Vanover missed their second game in a row, but the line did fine without them after struggling a week ago.

Secondary: A-

Maryland is a very pass-heavy team, and quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw the ball 39 times for 286 yards. Tagovailoa began the game with 17 straight completions and ended the first half 22 of 25. Despite the high passing yardage and long completion streak, the secondary performed well and didn’t allow many big plays through the air.

Kalen King has had a rough two weeks but bounced back and played well against the Terps with five tackles in the contest.

Special Teams: A-

Kicker Alex Felkins connected on all three field goal attempts from 30, 35, and 39 yards. Punter Riley Thompson was only needed twice during the victory, and he pinned the Terps inside their 20-yard line once with an average boot of 44.5 yards.

Daequan Hardy only attempted one return for three yards. Liam Clifford was called for a costly roughing the kicker penalty that gave the Terps a fresh set of downs en route to their first touchdown of the game, but that was one of the only negatives for Stacy Collins’ group. After a quiet season returning kicks thus far, Singleton managed to break a 51-yard kick return and ended with two returns for 68 yards.

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About the Author

CJ Doebler

CJ is a junior double majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. He is from Northumberland, Pa, just east of State College. CJ is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan, but chooses to ignore the Pirates' existence. For the occasional random retweet and/or bad take, follow @CDoebler on Twitter. All complaints can be sent to [email protected].

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