Article Written by Mac Young
Originally Published on September 29, 2023
With The White Out done and dusted, the Penn State Nittany Lions are heading back on the road to battle the Northwestern Wildcats.
Penn State has risen one spot in the AP poll up to No. 6 thanks to their dominant 31-0 win over Iowa. It was the first time the Hawkeyes had been shut out since 2000.
The Nittany Lions also kept up an impressive 11-game streak of scoring 30 points or more in a game. They also have won nine straight games by at least 14 points.
Quarterback Drew Allar and company have passed every test with flying colors so far this season, but the Penn State offense is still lacking in one area.
Explosive plays. They are something coach James Franklin emphasizes every single week.
While the Nittany Lions continue to score points and win comfortably, they have had trouble hitting on the big play, especially in the run game.
Nicholas Singleton was known all last season for breaking out long runs that change games. In Penn State’s Rose Bowl win Singleton broke one for an 87-yard touchdown, giving his squad the lead that would lead to a huge victory.
This campaign his longest run stands at a pedestrian 19 yards. He is still scoring touchdowns with five in four games, but his lack of explosiveness also reflects in his yards per carry which has dipped under four.
Even Allar who had an outstanding 72-yard pass in the opening game against West Virginia has had his average yards per pass drop in each of the four games.
Some of this can be attributed to winning in blowouts and the offense becoming more conservative, but I would be lying if I did not admit it is concerning to see fewer big plays from the Penn State offense.
Northwestern has been up and down this season with a 2-2 record coming off an overtime victory against Minnesota. Penn State should win, but like all Big Ten road games this one is not to be taken lightly.
While seeing Penn State continue its winning ways by starting 5-0, it would be even better to see the team win while breaking off a few of those sweet explosive plays.
Mac Young is a senior broadcast journalism major at Penn State.
To contact him email email@example.com.