A little more than a week after opening the season with an exhilarating road win at Purdue, Penn State got a chance to provide a different set of thrills for the fans in its home opener in Beaver Stadium on Saturday. Penn State’s 46-10 domination of Ohio served up a good glimpse into Penn State’s future with freshmen standing out in the spotlight against the Bobcats.
What was expected to be a total mismatch proved to be the case, and head coach James Franklin was able to use that to his advantage to give a rest to some of his veterans and get some younger players some serious reps in an actual game.
Here are five takeaways from Penn State’s blowout victory over Ohio.
Feed Nick Sinlgeton
Sep 10, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Nicholas Singleton (10) avoids a tackle while running with the ball during the first quarter against the Ohio Bobcats at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
It’s only been two games, but Penn State’s [autotag]Nick Singleton[/autotag] had the look of being the top running back on the roster moving forward. Singleton showed off great ability to turn the corner and race away from defenders down the sideline. Penn State will surely face some better defenses this season, but Singleton had the look of a five-star running back that has been missing for a few years.
Singleton had 179 rushing yards, ending Penn State’s drought of 100-yard rushers in a single game. In the same game, Keyvone Lee had just one rushing attempt for no gain. We’ll see how the rushing philosophy is approached going back on the road next week against Auburn, but Singleton has delivered on the hype early on this season.
Another freshman, [autotag]Kaytron Allen[/autotag], is not to be forgotten either. Allen had 23 rushing yards and 22 receiving yards on a screen to factor into the Penn State offense’s success.
The defense cleaned up a bit after Week 1
Sep 10, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Ohio Bobcats quarterback Kurtis Rourke (7) is pressured by Penn State Nittany Lions defensive tackle Hakeem Beamon (51) during the first quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
Coming into this game, it looked as though Ohio would have a chance to have some similar results as Purdue did with the passing game in Week 1. But Penn State’s defense never allowed for that to happen. Although the defense went without forcing an interception and could have made some more plays in the defensive backfield, Penn State held Ohio to just 264 yards of total offense.
Ohio averaged just 3.8 yards per rushing attempt and just 9.6 yards per pass completion. Ohio never had any consistent threats and needed to dig into the bag of tricks to get on the scoreboard before halftime.
That second-quarter touchdown drive was the only time all game Penn State’s defense was having trouble tracking down the Ohio offense. But you can only go into the bag of tricks so many times against a defense like Penn State’s. This was an encouraging step forward from Week 1 for [autotag]Manny Diaz[/autotag] and his defense.
Penn State's offensive line still a work in progress
Sep 10, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; A general view of Beaver Stadium prior to the game between the Ohio Bobcats and the Penn State Nittany Lions. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
Stop me if you have heard this before, but the Penn State offensive line needs to show some improvement. Ohio penetrated the line of scrimmage a bit too often to make Penn State feel too comfortable about the overall performance. It feels odd to comment on the offensive line on a day the offense put up over 500 yards of offense and got a big day on the ground from a freshman running back, but Penn State gave up eight tackles for a loss of 44 yards. [autotag]Sean Clifford[/autotag] was sacked three times as well.
Penn State had a scare in the second half when [autotag]Hunter Nourzad[/autotag] went down with an apparent leg injury, but he did return to the game shortly after walking off the field under his own power.
Barney Amor is now a key player
Sep 10, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin looks on from the sideline during the first quarter against the Ohio Bobcats at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
There is a thought that you never know how much you need a punter until you actually need a punter. Well, Penn State doesn’t need a punter because they may have one of the best in the Big Ten in [autotag]Barney Amor[/autotag].
Amor was placed on scholarship during fall camp, with none other than Eli Manning making the announcement while visiting a Penn State practice, and he is showing why he was deserving of a scholarship. Amor has stepped right in to succeed [autotag]Jordan Stout[/autotag] and he had himself a game with three punts averaging 49 yards. He pinned Ohio deep inside their own two-yard line in the second quarter, which led to the Penn State defense coming up with a safety.
Penn State should feel confident going on the road in Week 3
Sep 10, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Harrison Wallace III (6) attempts to avoid a tackle while running with the ball during the second quarter against the Ohio Bobcats at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
If you were looking to see some progress in some key areas with Penn State from Week 1 to Week 2, then you should come away from this game feeling like you saw it. While there are still some areas of concern (see above with the offensive line), Penn State had an encouraging Week 2 performance that allowed some key players to get some extra rest before the Nittany Lions head south for a matchup at Auburn.
Next week’s game is going to be electric as the Tigers look for revenge from last year’s competitive game in Beaver Stadium. Already having a hard-fought victory on the road in Week 1 and getting some experience and positive results from some fresh faces in Week 2, Penn State has the look of a team that should have a solid chance of coming back from Auburn with a win in Week 3. But we’ll get into that soon enough.