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Penn State Football’s Post-Michigan State Report Card

That’s a wrap, folks.

Penn State football closed out the regular season with a 42-0 victory over Michigan State at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday. The Penn State offense looked like a completely different group and gained 586 yards, while the defense looked like the same group it’s been all season and pitched its third shutout of the year.

Before Penn State looks toward a potential New Year’s Six game, let’s take a look at how each position group fared against the Spartans.

Quarterbacks: A+

Penn State’s passing attack was alive and well in a performance unlike anything that’s been seen since the season opener against West Virginia. Drew Allar threw the ball 26 times, completing 17 for a 65% completion rate. The quarterback also threw for 292 yards, his most since West Virginia, and two touchdowns.

Perhaps the most surprising part of the game was a deep bomb to Omari Evans who hauled in his fourth catch of the year for a 60-yard gain to the two-yard line.

Beau Pribula was also used a few times in the victory, mostly in the red zone. The backup ended the game with a touchdown on the ground and through the air en route to the win.

Running Backs: A+

It finally happened. Both Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen passed the 100-yard mark together for the first time in their careers during a stellar showing from the running backs.

Allen started the game and got the first two series at running back. Singleton followed suit on the next two drives but struggled as he continued to go up the middle for short gains. Something clicked in the second half, though, and Singleton joined Allen in their rout of the Michigan State front seven. Singleton ended the day with 118 yards on 18 carries and a rushing touchdown, while Allen ended with 137 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown through the air. Singleton also led all pass catchers with 68 yards.

Wide Receivers: B+

The passing game was working on Friday, but it wasn’t because of the wide receivers. Evans finished first among receivers with one catch for 60 yards. Evans was followed by Dante Cephas who caught three balls for 36 yards during the win. KeAndre Lambert-Smith was targeted three times but only caught one ball for 22 yards.

Malick Meiga also caught his third pass of the year on his only target of the day against Michigan State.

Tight Ends: A

The tight ends played a large part in the passing game’s success Friday. All three tight ends — Theo Johnson, Tyler Warren, and Khalil Dinkins — caught passes during the victory.

Johnson led the way for the tight ends catching four of his six targets for 59 yards and a touchdown, while Warren only managed two of his five targets for 22 yards and a touchdown. Dinkins caught the only ball thrown his way Friday for a gain of seven yards.

Offensive Line: A

The success of the running game was in no small part due to the play of the offensive line. Michigan State’s defense managed just two sacks, and Penn State’s rushers went for 283 yards during an impressive performance from the front lines. Allar was hurried four times during the win, but Michigan State never established a consistent presence in the backfield.

Front Seven: A+

Penn State’s defense had another shutout performance on Friday for its third of the year. The front seven stifled the Michigan State run game and held it to -20 yards on the ground during the victory.

Adisa Isaac led the front seven with five solo tackles, one sack, and 1.5 tackles for loss. Along with keeping the Spartans in the negative, the front seven was responsible for 4.5 out of Penn State’s seven total sacks.

Secondary: A

Safety Jaylen Reed jumpstarted Penn State’s day with an interception on a drive that showed some promise from the Spartans. After making the pick at the Penn State 29-yard line, Reed said he knew it would be a confidence killer for Spartan quarterback Katin Houser, and he was right as the passing game never got back into rhythm and ended the day with 88 total yards through the air.

Kevin Winston Jr. led the secondary with four total tackles, a tackle for loss, and two pass breakups, the only recorded breakups on the team.

Special Teams: B+

The kicking game wasn’t stellar against Michigan State as Alex Felkins, who was called on three times early in the game, missed a 40-yard attempt after nailing a 49-yard attempt on the very next drive. Felkins was needed again on the next drive and connected on the 30-yard attempt to give the Nittany Lions a 6-0 lead.

Punter Riley Thompson punted three times for an average of 47 yards while pinning the Spartans within their own 20-yard line twice.

The return game was working for Penn State as Daequan Hardy attempted seven returns for 77 yards and almost broke another touchdown return but was stopped by the last man at the Spartan 28-yard line.

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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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