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Penn State Looks to Polish Off Strong Start Against Delaware

Article Written by Mac Young

Originally Published on September 8, 2023

The No. 7 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions treated their fans to an impressive 38-15 season-opening win over West Virginia.

Under the lights of Beaver Stadium, new starting quarterback Drew Allar was spectacular completing 21-29 of his passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns.

Wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith also had a big day stepping into the role as the new top target collecting 123 air yards along with two scores. He hauled in a 72-yard touchdown pass early in the first quarter, putting the blue and white up early and for good.

While Penn State won comfortably, the Nittany Lions weren’t without some typical early-season struggles.

The most obvious of these setbacks came in the kicking department, where starter Sander Sahaydak missed two field goals from inside the 40-yard line in the first half. This led to Alex Felkins coming in where he made his lone field goal attempt from 25 yards out.

Coach James Franklin said the kicking battle would be an open competition and it seems this will linger on into the coming games.

A more underlying issue is the Penn State defensive line, specifically the interior.

Many have touted this Nittany Lion defensive unit as one of the best in the country and in the box score, they looked the part, only allowing two touchdowns for the game.

However, it was clear that the West Virginia offense was going to struggle to throw the ball and rely on the run early on due to quarterback Garrett Greene’s lack of passing proficiency and more of his talent coming through his legs.

Despite knowing all this, the Penn State defense allowed 146 rushing yards to the Mountaineers.

Often times the West Virginia offense would move the ball down the field well before letting self-inflicted wounds like poor throws or bad play calls allow the Penn State defense to get off the field.

It still wasn’t a bad performance at all for this unit, but if the Nittany Lions hope to take down the likes of Michigan and Ohio State later in the season, they will have to be sharper in this area.

Dominating a lowly Delaware team on Saturday can bolster some confidence before Penn State has its first road test at Illinois next week.

Mac Young, The Locker Room with Billy Schweim's Penn State Football Columnist

Mac Young is a senior broadcast journalism major at Penn State.

To contact him email

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