UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WHTM) – Penn State head coach James Franklin highlighted the team’s playcalling after scoring just 15 points in a loss to Michigan.
“We gotta do a better job of calling a game to allow a quarterback to get into rhythm,” said Franklin after the game. “That is critical. We gotta find easy completions for a quarterback to get into rhythm. That’s what everybody does. We gotta do a good job with that.”
Sophomore quarterback Drew Allar finished 10-22 with just 70 yards and a touchdown. There were several missed opportunities for the offense that included missed throws, a fumble by Allar in the third quarter, and two failed two-point conversions.
Allar, a five star quarterback in his first season as the starter, connected with Theo Johnson with two minutes left in the game for his lone touchdown.
Coming into the game the Nittany Lions averaged 40 points per game and nearly 400 yards of offense. That includes two non-conference games where they scored 63 points against both Delaware and UMass. There was little sight of that offense on Saturday with no receiver making more than two catches.
Tyler Warren finished as the team’s leading receiver with 25 yards. He had the lone reception of 15+ yards for Penn State.
Franklin said while the offensive line gave up just one sack, there were too many pressures on Allar. He also pointed to not creating enough separation for Allar and receivers to make plays.
A bright point in the offense, said Franklin, was not getting into many third and long situations.
“We still weren’t efficient enough on third down as we need to be, that’s the biggest issue, although we were able to move the ball and do some things in the first half, we were not successful on third down.”
Penn State was 4-14 on third down and 2-5 on third and short (within 4 yards). Coming into the game, the Nittany Lions averaged 42% completion on third downs.
They had just one third down attempt of at least nine yards, one they failed to complete.
Franklin said the lack of third down conversions was “to me the biggest issue and was problematic.”
Running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen combined for 25 yards for 115 yards. Allar had three of the team’s five runs of more than 10 yards on keepers, including a touchdown.
“That’s one of the best defenses in college football,” Franklin said of Michigan. “We’ve got one of the best defenses in college football, they make it challenging up front.”
Penn State returns to play on Saturday against unranked Rutgers.