James Franklin not surprised by Drew Allar's strong play in season opener

On3 imageby:Peter Warren09/03/23

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Drew Allar Postgame Comments after West Virginia

Penn State quarterback Drew Allar did the job and then some in Saturday’s season opener against West Virginia. The Nittany Lions controlled the Mountaineers as they walloped their way to a convincing 38-15 victory with Allar the star of the show.

Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin said after the game the Allar fans saw on the field was the same Allar the team saw in the weeks leading up to the opener

“That’s the Drew that we saw in preseason camp,” Franklin said. “I think — to be honestly — that’s the Drew we saw unlimited reps last year in terms of when he got into game, he did some really good things and just feels very poised and confident.”

Allar finished the game with 325 passing yards on 21 of 29 passing with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. KeAndre Lambert-Smith was his top target with four catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

Franklin said the West Virginia game plan was sound but Allar played nearly perfectly against it. There was only one play where he thought Allar missed a big chance because of the Mountaineers pressure.

“They were smart,” Franklin said. “They played a ton of covers zero, which if you’re going to play a young quarterback and you play cover zero, which allows you to get more guys in the box that we can block in the run game or in protection and create a pressure situation for a quarterback, that’s a smart plan for a first-time starter. But Drew was able to execute the cover zero plan, and except for one, we had the slant to KeAndre that he got pressured, he was losing ground and kind of threw it low and slightly behind him. If that thing’s out in front, KeAndre walks in from 70 or 60 or whatever that was. Besides that, I thought he managed it really well.”

Franklin also gave a shoutout to backup Beau Pribula, who came in at the end of the game and led Penn State on a final drive down the field for a touchdown.

Pribula was 1 of 1 for seven yards while carrying the ball three times for 18 yards and a touchdown.

“Beau did the same thing,” Franklin said. “We were trying to run the ball at the end of the game there. Again, you’re gonna go cover zero. You’re forcing us to throw the ball. Beau check to our cover zero plan and picked up a first down there…I’m proud of both of those guys.”