top of page

Penn State wins by land, definitely not by air

Article Written by Mac Young

Originally Published on November 19, 2023

Penn State fired offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich after a humiliating loss to Michigan last week. Running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider and tight ends coach Ty Howle took over play-calling duties this week against Rutgers to the tune of some of the same head-scratching results.

The Nittany Lions won the game comfortably 27-6 but had a pedestrian 322 total yards of offense. Even more concerning, Penn State had just 88 yards passing.

It’s the second week in a row that Penn State had less than 100 yards passing, an absurdly low bar the Nittany Lions are struggling to hit.

The last time Penn State through for less than 100 yards prior to this stretch was back on Nov. 30, 2019, a Will Levis start against Rutgers.

The Nittany Lions have not had two games of less than 100 yards passing in a single season since 2011. Penn State was held to 98 air yards on Oct. 29, 2011, legendary coach Joe Paterno’s 409th win.

A few weeks later, on Nov. 19, 2011, Penn State beat Ohio State in Columbus with 88 yards passing.

To find the last time Penn State went back-to-back games with under 100 yards passing you would have to go back nearly 20 (!) years.

On Oct. 23, 2004, against Iowa (of course), Penn State generated just 96 passing yards in a 6-4 loss. You read that right, yes, 6-4. Iowa intentionally took a safety at the end of the game because the Hawkeyes knew Penn State’s offense could not get in field goal range.

The next week, Oct. 30, 2004, the Nittany Lions had 69 yards passing in a 21-10 loss at Ohio State.

We are talking about legendary levels of mediocrity here! The year is 2023. This is college football where offenses are favored and teams score in droves.

Not to mention that Penn State is starting a quarterback in Drew Allar who was a 5-star recruit. Allar was hurt in the second half and did not return, but it’s still crazy to see a ranked Penn State team struggle at this level.

We’ll see if Allar trots back out for Penn State’s Friday night matchup next week against Michigan State.

Regardless of who’s in at quarterback, the Nittany Lions have a strong chance to get the passing game back on track at an indoor stadium in Ford Field against Michigan State.

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

To contact him email


bottom of page