Report Card: Grading Penn State’s win over Villanova

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Penn State defeated Villanova in fashion today 38-17, despite a scare in the end of what was almost a fumble recovery touchdown by the Wildcats. But all in all, there were plenty of positive for the Nittany Lions to reflect on. At the same time, there is clearly some room for improvement as Penn State returns to Big Ten play for the rest of the regular season beginning next week.

Let’s dive deeper and grade Penn State‘s performance

Quarterbacks: A+

Sean Clifford was on fire today. Several people and analysts were very hesitant as to how he would do the season. Through the first four games, he has not only looked more confident by the week, but he is also showing off his athleticism and the ability to get several of his weapons involved in the game.

Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

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Next: Running Backs

Running Backs: D

The running backs continue to struggle. What was interesting was that at halftime, James Franklin mentioned that the running backs play better than the stats show. Baylor transfer running back John Lovett was noted as one of Penn State’s most impactful offensive players for today’s game, and he finished with just 11 carries for 45 yards. This could’ve been a game where the run game could slowly start to find their groove. But there just wasn’t anything clicking today.

Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

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Next: Wide Receivers

Wide Receivers: A

The passing game was exciting to watch today, and the best part is that we saw more than just one guy show out. Guys like Parker Washington and KeAndre Lambert-Smith shut off the speed in several plays throughout the game.

Jahan Dotson is certainly making a case to be considered a top five wide receiver in the country, and to many he already is. His development throughout his time at Penn State has been nothing short of impressive, and he continues to put himself on the map as a sleeper wide receiver draft prospect.

Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Related

5 takeaways from Penn State's Week 4 win vs Villanova

WATCH: Sean Clifford tosses fourth TD of game vs. Villanova

WATCH: Sean Clifford extends play for third long touchdown pass vs. Villanova

WATCH: Parker Washington turns on the jets to extend Penn State's lead on Villanova

WATCH: Jahan Dotson scores touchdown on Penn State's first snap vs. Villanova

Next: Defense

Defense: A-

The defensive line made some nice plays as well throughout the game. The analyst had mentioned and praised the growth of defensive tackle PJ Mustipher. One point worth noting is that throughout his time at Penn State, he has started to become more versatile and lineup across different areas of the front line.

Penn State Linebacker Ellis Brooks was the teams leading tackler for today with four total. That might not seem high at all, but what keeps a Penn State‘s defense so consistent and competitive is the fact that they have multiple guys show out every game.

Despite giving up some late game plays, Penn State’s defense continues to shine.

Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Next: Special Teams

Special Teams: B+

The special teams had a solid performance today as well. Jordan Stout, their punter, had an impressive punt late in the game that put Villanova way back at the goal line. Despite one missed point after kick, the special teams today played very well.

List

Inside the box score: Key stats from Penn State's win over Villanova

Related

5 takeaways from Penn State's Week 4 win vs Villanova

Instant Reaction: Penn State beats Villanova in fashion 38-17

WATCH: Sean Clifford tosses fourth TD of game vs. Villanova

WATCH: Sean Clifford extends play for third long touchdown pass vs. Villanova

WATCH: Parker Washington turns on the jets to extend Penn State's lead on Villanova

WATCH: Jahan Dotson scores touchdown on Penn State's first snap vs. Villanova