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Top 10 Plays From Penn State Football’s 2023 Season

It’s been a blast, folks.

Penn State football’s regular season has come to a close, and with it, the highlight reel plays it brought. The Nittany Lions may have been one of the worst teams in the nation at explosive plays, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some stunning moments throughout the season.

We dove into what we thought were the best moments of this year.

No. 10: Dom DeLuca Takes It All. The. Way.

Just last season, Dom DeLuca was a little-known run-on trying to elevate his stock with his favorite team. It didn’t take long for DeLuca to secure the appreciation of Nittany Lions fans this season, especially with this pick-six against Delaware.

Sure, this was against Delaware, but DeLuca’s dash to the end zone was still a beauty to behold. It was a really nice moment for the guy who dreamed of playing for Penn State.

No. 9: Omari Evans’ 62-Yard Bomb In Detroit

Penn State-Michigan State was a wonder to behold for fans who had yearned for some quality Nittany Lion offense all season long. Penn State’s running game finally jumped started, and so did Drew Allar’s arm. The young quarterback heaved a 62-yard prayer to wide receiver Omari Evans for a beautiful play that couldn’t quite find the end zone.

It was a great moment to see two guys who should’ve had a better season shine on national television, even if it was in a seemingly unimportant game.

No. 8: KLS Becomes A Contortionist vs. Iowa

This was just beautiful.

Penn State had already won its game against Iowa when KeAndre Lambert-Smith caught this pass in the fourth quarter. Still, it was just that good of a play that we had to include it. Lambert-Smith twisted his body to avoid the defender blocking his vision to the ball and caught Allar’s pass as he fell to the ground. It was really impressive.

This play might not have meant much in the long run, but it set off the White Out crowd in attendance. We still aren’t sure how he made this grab.

No. 7: Daequan Hardy’s Pick At Illinois

Remember when Penn State had four (4) picks against Illinois? We sure do. It was pretty hard to choose between the lot of them, but we thought this incredible jump from Daequan Hardy just had to make the list. It was a full-effort play in a full-effort game where all the Penn State effort told the nation just how good it was.

This set up the secondary, and Hardy, for an impressive season. Too bad Gus Johnson didn’t seem to care.

No. 6: Trey Potts Is The Ultimate Mobile Quarterback Against Illinois

Allar and Beau Pribula might have some competition.

When Trey Potts transferred to Penn State from Minnesota this offseason, he probably thought he’d be making some simple run plays for the Nittany Lions, not throwing touchdown passes. However, after a few coaches saw the arm Potts had, they designed a play for him to pass the ball. Luckily for us, we all got to see it in action.

No. 5: Penn State’s Defense Bends But Doesn’t Break Against Iowa

Some people seem to forget Penn State was in a dogfight with Iowa in the White Out game.

Sure, the dogfight didn’t last too long, but Penn State needed to have a few moments in the game to really get going. This forced fumble by Dani Dennis-Sutton and recovery by Curtis Jacobs was one of those moments that set the tone.

One of the coolest things about this play is this was the only drive where Iowa reached Penn State’s half of the field. When the Hawkeyes were shut out for the first time in over two decades, this was as close as they got.

No. 4: Hardy Takes It To The House As Starting Punt Returner

When Penn State started the year, one of its weakest points was its punt return.

No offense to Kaden Saunders, but he didn’t seem to quite fit the role. When Hardy took over against UMass, the difference could be seen from a mile away. And for the first time all season, the difference was seen in the end zone. Hardy’s two-punt-return-for-touchdown game set a high standard for the rest of the season, but he lived up to it pretty well.

No. 3: Drew Allar & KLS Keep The Season Alive Against Indiana

Remember when everyone thought that Penn State was going to blow Indiana out of the water after the Ohio State loss? That didn’t quite happen.

Instead, the Nittany Lions were stuck fighting with the Hoosiers until the very end of the game, when Lambert-Smith caught this beauty from Allar. Allar’s pass was perfectly placed, and Lambert-Smith’s run was perfectly timed. Yeah, it was perfect.

Sure, Allar might not have been as “unlocked” as everyone thought he was, but this was still a really nice play.

No. 2: James Franklin Flaunts Beau Pribula Package At Maryland

We waited so long to see what Pribula really had to offer on this roster. Thank god that we finally saw it.

Sure, this touchdown pass wasn’t actually Pribula’s, and Allar made a really nice toss falling down to Theo Johnson to get this touchdown play. But we can still say that it was Pribula’s play.

We didn’t see as much of Pribula this season as we might have liked, but each time that he was on the field, he was an exciting player. Trace McSorley is smiling down from Penn State heaven (which is in Pittsburgh right now, for some reason).

No. 1: Allar & KLS Kick Off Season Against West Virginia

Take us back to simpler times.

Early in Penn State’s opener against West Virginia, Allar stretched this pass to Lambert-Smith to take a lead against the Mountaineers. It was a strong way to set the tone for a play that ~ almost ~ set the tone for the whole season.

When Allar and Lambert-Smith made this connection, we all thought Penn State football was set for a long season of beautiful, long passes. Alas, that it wasn’t to be.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and an associate editor at Onward State. He covers Penn State football and enjoys yelling on Twitter about Philadelphia/Penn State sports. He also listens to Mac Miller more than you. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. Please send all positive affirmations and/or hate mail toward him on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email ([email protected]).

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