3 takeaways from Penn State's grind-it-out win vs. Rutgers
Penn State came out for Week 12’s game against Rutgers a bit lethargic. Considering the past week, that’s a bit expected.
After all, the Nittany Lions most recently faced Michigan in a top-10 clash with a lot on the line. Penn State lost that game in particularly dreadful fashion, and James Franklin fired offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich coming out of that loss.
With that kind of turmoil, maybe it is expected for the offense to struggle in the way it did against a tough Rutgers defense. In the end, the offense rallied and came up with a 27-6 win as the Nittany Lion defense continued to flex its muscles.
ESPN BET is now live in 17 states
Use promo code SATURDAY to get your $250 bonus
Here are the key takeaways from the Week 12 win:
Injury to Drew Allar concerning
During the game, Allar took a hard hit straight to his right throwing shoulder on one run. On the next play, Allar threw an incomplete pass and was quickly pulled for backup QB Beau Pribula.
Pribula played well though was only called on to throw the ball one time, and the status of Allar is a bigger concern moving forward. At various points of the broadcast, he appeared to be in pain and did not look comfortable while testing the motion of his throwing arm.
Allar finished the game with a 6-for-13 effort and 79 yards and 28 yards rushing, but we will see how his week progresses. It is also notable that Penn State’s week shortens up a bit with a Black Friday game against Michigan State in store after Thanksgiving.
Ground game finds footing behind Pribula, backfield
Without Allar in the lineup, the Nittany Lions turned to the ground game behind Beau Pribula. In fact, Pribula just threw one pass (and completed it) for 9 yards.
Fortunately, Penn State produced an efficient rushing attack while leaning on Pribula, Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton to carry the ball. The backup QB led the team with 71 rushing yards as the team went for 234 yards and 6 yards per carry.
Singleton — who has battled efficiency at times this fall — went for 61 yards and 5.5 yards per carry. Allen did have 2 touchdowns in the game and 69 total yards, but Singleton’s efficiency was a tick better in this game.
Facing Michigan State, it probably will not matter who takes the snaps for the Nittany Lions, provided they get the type of ground production they had in Week 12.
Shot at 10 wins still intact
At some point, fans will need Franklin and company to break through with wins against the top teams in the B1G. However, Penn State has a shot at back-to-back seasons of 10+ wins, and that should not be taken lightly.
Overall, Franklin has 4 seasons with 11 wins while at Penn State, but the team has not gone back-to-back seasons since 2016-17. This year, the Nittany Lions need just one more win to get to double digits with Week 13 and a bowl game remaining.
The questions of Franklin’s tenure are valid, but the head coach also said he’s not worried if he is judged on his entire body of work. That is a fair request, and his overall body of work still speaks volumes.
Since a 7-6 campaign coming out of the shortened COVID season, Franklin has gone 20-4 overall with a win in the Rose Bowl. A win against Michigan State would give Penn State another 10-2 season with a shot at 11 wins once again.
With all the concerns for the offense and Franklin’s big-game tendencies moving forward, that is still a significant achievement for the program.