STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — It may be a dreary April day, but football is back. The Penn State Blue-White Game took place inside a soggy Beaver Stadium on Saturday, ending spring practice for Penn State football. Spring games are difficult to use as a bellwether for fall football. As such, I don’t read too much into anything that we saw on Saturday. But, there are three quick storylines that I think Penn State fans should keep an eye on heading into the summer.
Drew Allar and Beau Pribula are still settling into new roles
For the first time since 2018, Penn State football will have a starting quarterback not named Sean Clifford. Going by everything we’ve heard from the program this spring, the competition between Drew Allar and Beau Pribula is very real. Saturday’s Blue-White Game was the first opportunity fans had to see either take the full reins of the Penn State offense.
Early on, both sophomore quarterbacks struggled to find their footing early in the first quarter. Allar missed on several makable throws during the first two drives of the game. Pribula started the game 1-5 for 7 yards. But, both started to round into form before halftime. Allar found a wide-open Omari Evans in stride for a 28-yard touchdown on the second drive of the game and would follow with a 17-yard rope to Kaden Saunders near the end of the half. Pribula put his arm talent on display as well, with a 22-yard rope to Evans down the left sideline in the second quarter.
In terms of an eye test, I’d say both quarterbacks had more subpar throws than highlight reel plays. However, Allar and Pribula both ended the day with respectable numbers. Allar went 19-30 for 202 yards and 1 score, while Pribula finished 10-27 for 92 yards and an interception. But if you were hoping for one of these young quarterbacks to take the competition by the horns going into the summer, you’d were disappointed. This one will have to wait until the fall.
Omari Evans makes his case as a feature piece of the Penn State offense
KeAndre Lambert-Smith ended 2022 with two statement performances, becoming the frontrunner to be Penn State’s top wide receiver position going into this season. On Saturday, Omari Evans showed why he can separate himself from the rest of the receiver room as well.
Evans finished the day with 5 receptions for 80 yards and 1 touchdown. He was the most targeted wideout by far, and made the most of his opportunities. Evans was able to create space, and looked good with the ball in the open field. We’ll see where he fits into the picture once transfer Dante Cephase arrives on campus, but Evans made his case to be a feature piece of the Penn State football offense in 2023.
KJ Winston showed rising star potential in the Blue-White Game
For the first time since 2020, Penn State doesn’t have a clear-cut alpha at safety. As a result, it’s going to have to be a group effort, especially early in the season. So, there’s room for someone like rising sophmore KJ Winston. As a true freshman, Winston appeared in 12 games, but only recorded 16 tackles.
But the former four-star prospect put together an impressive showing during the Blue-White game. Winston was second on the team with 6 tackles, 3 of which were solo tackles. He also added 0.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup. At the very least, I expect Winston to push for considerable playing time this season. But KJ Winston is a talent that those who follow Penn State recruiting have been excited about for years. It’s very possible that he will become a fan favorite before the 2023 season is over as well.
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