Of note: Penn State RB Kaytron Allen exited the field with trainers near the end of the first half.
Starting LG JB Nelson was carted off the field in the second quarter and has not returned
— Seth Engle (@bigsengtweets) September 30, 2023
Starting left guard JB Nelson exited the game in the second quarter when he was carted off the field with an undisclosed injury.
After Nelson went down, Allen also exited the game in the second quarter and was accompanied by trainers into the locker room. Allen did return to the sideline during the game but did not reenter the game.
After the game, head coach James Franklin noted that Nelson “is back and with us” but did not provide further details about Allen.
Instead of discussing Allen’s status, Franklin pivoted to discuss the play of third-string running back Trey Potts, who accounted for two touchdowns in Allen’s absence.
“JB (Nelson) is back and with us and Kaytron (Allen) I’m not sure I haven’t gotten the full medical report.”
– James Franklin pic.twitter.com/8Shoj6x8kc
— Joel Haas (@Joel_Haas1) September 30, 2023
With James Franklin’s history of unwillingness to discuss injuries that are not season ending, it is not likely that we will find out the status of the players unless they are healthy by Wednesday after practice.
Franklin will take questions Wednesday night where he can address the injuries, however, if the pair remain limited at all with injury, Franklin will likely not get into specifics.
Penn State is fortunate that the bye week hit at an ideal time with the two injuries and both Allen and Nelson will have two weeks to heal before the next game action, and if they are not ready, could be held out against UMass before the larger matchup in Columbus the following week.
Penn State would greatly miss its starting left guard and co-starting running back in the matchup against the Buckeyes so the hope is that the pair will be back and ready by October 21.
Additionally, the bye week gives Penn State time to get Trey Wallace healthy as he did not appear in the game against Northwestern and has been listed on the availability report as “questionable” for multiple weeks. Wallace has been acting as Penn State’s wide receiver two, behind KeAndre Lambert-Smith, this season.
Even with his absence against Northwestern, and playing very limited reps against Iowa, Wallace still has the second most receptions for the Nittany Lions among receivers. With issues in the passing game with both drops and miscommunication between Allar and the wide receivers, Penn State would be fortunate to get Wallace back healthy after the bye.
Penn State’s bye came at an ideal time for the Nittany Lions.
If Penn State can use the bye week to get key offensive players back healthy, the Nittany Lions can gear up at a run at the Big Ten title and a spot in the College Football Playoff in the second half of the season.
Everything is still in front of this team and the next two weeks, from a health and preparation standpoint, may determine whether the Nittany Lions live up to the lofty preseason expectations for this team.