Penn State Football

Abdul Carter Shines in Penn State Football Finale

The Land Grant Trophy returned to Happy Valley, following Saturday’s 35-16 Penn State Football victory over Michigan State inside Beaver Stadium, in quarterback Sean Clifford’s Senior Day swan song.

True freshman Abdul Carter finished his season strong, leading the way in another dominant performance by Manny Diaz’s defense against the Spartans. It was the kind of game from Carter and his defensive teammates that propelled the Nittany Lions to a 10-win season, positioned for a possible New Year’s Six Bowl appearance.

Here are key takeaways from Saturday’s Penn State Football victory over Michigan State:

Sean Clifford gets a proper sendoff

Whatever your opinion is on Clifford, it was good to see him play well in his final game at Beaver Stadium.

The senior quarterback finished 19-of-24 for 202 yards and 4 touchdowns. While many Penn State fans, including myself, had called for Drew Allar to play the final 4 games after Ohio State, it doesn’t change the fact that Clifford has given everything he could to Penn State Football.

Clifford may not have had the success and popularity of Trace McSorley, but he did lead the Nittany Lions to two 10-2 seasons and most likely New Year’s Six appearances in both. Clifford will never be thought of as the greatest quarterback to put on the blue and white, but he has been a solid player throughout his career.

It was fitting that Clifford’s last pass was a beautiful 35-yard touchdown to Keandre Lambert-Smith to put the game out of reach.

Most fans gripe with Clifford was that he was inconsistent and couldn’t get Penn State Football to the next level. Clifford is good for college standards, but doesn’t have the NFL potential that is needed to turn the corner. Here’s to hoping that Allar is the piece that Penn State has been missing during the James Franklin era.

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Run Game Consistency

Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton once again gave Penn State Football some consistency on the ground.

Allen finished with 21 carries for 82 yards, and Singleton finished with 78 yards on 17 carries.

Despite a banged up offensive line and a decent Spartan defensive line, the Nittany Lions were still able to get key 1st down runs to give manageable 3rd down plays.

Allen continues to show his incredible vision and a large portion of them came after it seemed like the play was over. Singleton’s elite speed turned plenty of broken plays into net gains. This backfield has been improving all season and it is exciting to think how much they will continue to get better during the offseason.

This is probably the best one-two punch in a Nittany Lion backfield since Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders in 2017. The reason this is more exciting is that there really isn’t a RB1 that dominates the carries like Barkley did in 2017. Allen and Singleton have split carries evenly all season and are different enough to keep defenses on their toes.

The best part is that these two guys will be here for at least 2 more seasons.

If the Penn State offensive line can continue to improve, there isn’t a reason to believe he can’t be the best backfield in the country next year.

Abdul Carter Dominates

We talk a lot about the freshmen production on offense, but what Abdul Carter has done from the linebacker position has been nothing short of remarkable.

Carter finished Saturday’s game with 2 sacks and 3 tackles for loss, collecting 7 tackles in total. Carter has been heating up these last 4 games, totaling 4 sacks and 20 tackles.

It will be interesting to see if Carter continues to be this productive if Manny Diaz decides to leave and take a head coaching job this offseason.

Being in a blitz heavy defense has certainly helped the young linebacker adjust to the college game. His speed though should help him be a force no matter what defensive scheme he ends up playing in next season.

Jake Pinegar struggles again

It seemed like Jake Pinegar had corrected his kicking woes the past few weeks.

That correction didn’t last as his first half performance was abysmal to say the least. After a Michigan State fumble on the opening drive, Penn State Fotball came away empty when Pinegar pushed a 37-yard field goal wide right.

Pinegar would later miss a 28-yard field goal before the half that would have given the Nittany Lions a 17-0 lead. Michigan State drove down after the miss and kicked a field goal of their own to take a 14-3 deficit into the locker room.

Franklin didn’t give his kicker another opportunity, electing to go for it in the 4th quarter with the game on the line instead of trying to go up 8 with a field goal. It has been an up and down season for Pinegar and that continued Saturday. Hopefully Penn State Football gets a good Pinegar for the bowl game.

Student Tickets should be sold to the Public

The listed attendance in the stadium was 105,154. I would be surprised if there were 90,000 at the game.

The student attendance for the games before or after Thanksgiving are always the most poorly attended games. Out of the 22,000 student tickets there were probably only 5,000 that made it into the stadium Saturday.

Let’s be honest, Penn State Football could be 11-0 heading into this game, and the student section still wouldn’t fill up.

I have always thought Penn State needs to create a system where students can sell their ticket back to the university for $20 and then those tickets can be listed on the Ticketmaster for the public to buy. The tickets could start from the top of sections WA and EA and work their way down based on how many students opt to sell their tickets back.

This would help get rid of the empty student section and potentially provide a higher attended game. This may have not helped yesterday a ton considering there were resale tickets going for $5 the day of the game, but in years where there are contenders it would help fill the stadium and provide more people with a chance to attend the game.

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