In 2020, the Penn State Nittany Lions started 0-5 before ending the season on a four-game win streak. In 2021, Penn State started the season 5-0 before losing three straight games and six of their last eight games. So, heading into 2022, expectations were neither high nor low for the Nittany Lions. But they had an 11-2 season that was capped off with a Rose Bowl win over the Utah Utes, and it is safe to say Penn State exceeded almost everyone's expectations.
But after a season like that, expectations are raised and new standards are created. Their offense is led by two running backs, Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen, and their defense is led by linebacker Abdul Carter. And what do these three players all have in common? They are all true sophomores, providing a bright future for the Nittany Lions. But they are not the only sophomores this team is leaning on, as 2022 five-star quarterback Drew Allar is set to take over the keys to the offense.
For Penn State's annual Blue-White spring game on Saturday, weather played a factor giving us a less-than-exciting score of 10-0. But while this was not exciting point production, there is still plenty to take away from the Nittany Lions' spring game.
Drew Allar at QB1
With quarterback Sean Clifford wrapping up his historic career at Penn State, the Nittany Lions have turned to Allar to take this team to the next level. And while Clifford and QB Trace McSorley set the bar pretty high when it comes to career stats, it is safe to say that Allar is the best pocket passer the Nittany Lions have had, well, potentially ever. If he can live up to the hype, the College Football Playoff is in the cards for the Nittany Lions over the next few seasons
Omari Evans Could Have Breakout Season
Consider the names Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, KJ Hamler, Jahan Dotson and now Parker Washington. These are all wide receivers who have been WR1 for Penn State before going onto the NFL. And with Washington and Mitchell Tinsley headed to the pros this year, the question is who will step up at receiver. KeAndre Lambert-Smith and Harrison Wallace III are expected to be the Day One starters. However, Omari Evans — a three-star recruit from the 2022 recruiting class — made his presence known with a big day of five catches, 80 yards and one touchdown. If Evans plays like this in 2023, Allar is going to have plenty of weapons.
Special Teams Are Biggest Concern
Kicker Jake Pinegar and punter Barney Amor both finished their college careers last season, leaving a massive hole in an area that Penn State has succeeded in for quite some time. Because of the rain, there was not much to shine light on when it came to special teams, aside from a 62-yard punt from Florida Atlantic transfer Riley Thompson. Meanwhile, the other punters averaged 34 yards on six punt attempts. Special teams are huge to a team's success, and the Nittany Lions will need to put some focus on that from now until Week 1.
MORE: The Penn State Whiteout Game is One of College Football's Best Traditions
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