Penn State Football

Penn State Football Proves its Mettle, But Major Flaw Emerges | What We Learned From Win over West Virginia

Penn State Football proved an age old adage in Week 1; If you want to know how good the tea is, stick it in hot water.

It’s fascinating to watch what pressure can do to some folks. Pressure is a privilege, and if you don’t relish the gut-wrenching anxiety leading up to a high stakes performance then you’re probably in the wrong business. 

More on a tale of two opportunities in a moment.

Saturday night night saw the seventh-ranked Nittany Lions grind out a solid 38-15 win over West Virginia.

The Nits probably could have made it a little easier on the gambling public by not waiting until there were six seconds left to solidify the cover, but I doubt anyone who cashed in on last night’s win is complaining today.

Penn State had several opportunities in the first half to get some separation from the Mountaineers but kept misfiring, thus allowing WVU to hit the locker room at half time only down seven, 14-7.

Keep in mind that one game is a very small sample size, but here are three things that we learned last night in the first 60 minutes of Head Coach James Franklin’s 10th season at the helm in Happy Valley.

Some guys like it hot

First year starter Drew Allar is clearly one of those guys who lives for the big moments.

On his second throw in his first start, Allar hit KeAndre Lambert-Smith with a 72 yard strike to cap a four play, 94 drive to start the game.  Allar finished with a slick 21/29 and three touchdown performance with no interceptions.

His stat line deserved a better fate but some of his receivers had a case of the dropsies In Week 1.

Allar completed 72 percent of his throws for 325 yards and was as poised as you want your leader to be.


Some guys like it … not

Unlike the five star QB, starting kicker Sander Sahaydak failed to seize the moment on the big stage.

In front of 110,000 of his closest friends and a national television audience, Sandayhak missed chip shots of 38 and 34 yards and became a first half story line.

The redshirt sophomore from Allentown, PA found out very quickly that in a business that’s all about winning you may not get too many chances to prove yourself.  The left footer did not see the field again after half time as Franklin had seen enough and inserted senior Alex Felkins into the game for all of the second half kicking duties.

Felkins made good on his opportunities making all three of his PAT’s to go along with a 25 yard field goal.  In a sport that often comes down to clutch kicking (see Ohio State v Georgia), this is something that the Nits have to figure out before they get into the meat of their schedule. Coach Franklin said after the game that no decisions have been made going forward at this point.  Stay tuned.

Manny Diaz’s defense lives up to the hype

After giving up a nine play, 69 yard touchdown drive to the Mountaineers on their second possession (the bulk of which came courtesy of a busted coverage that yielded a 42 yard reception by WVU’s Devin Carter), the Nits defense swarmed West Virginia quarterback Garrett Greene all night long.

All told, Manny Diaz’ top-10 ranked defense recorded three sacks, two QB hurries and six tackles for loss, keeping  the Mountaineer’s offense off balance most of the evening, yielding just 198 yards of total offense through the first three quarters.

The defense didn’t record an official take-away but did force three turnovers on downs and four West Virginia punts en route to a game one rout.

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