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James Franklin grades Penn State offense in first game since Mike Yurcich firing

Faced with adversity, Penn State football coach James Franklin offered strong praise for his offense in the Nittany Lions’ first game since firing Mike Yurcich.



Penn State football, James Franklin, Mike Yurcich
Nov 18, 2023; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Kaytron Allen (13) carries the ball as Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Shaquan Loyal (6) pursues during the second half at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After an interesting week in Happy Valley, Penn State football returned to action on Saturday for the first time since the devastating loss to Michigan and subsequent firing of offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. The Nittany Lions offense battled its fair share of in-game adversity against Rutgers after a sluggish first half and a hit that knocked Drew Allar out of the game. But Penn State rallied behind backup QB Beau Pribula for what ultimately was a 21-point win. After the victory, James Franklin offered an evaluation of his offense in the Nittany Lions’ first action under co-offensive coordinators Ja’Juan Seider and Ty Howle.

Penn State offense battles through adversity for strong second half

The first half of the post-Mike Yurcich era for the Penn State offense didn’t look much better than the Nittany Lions’ inept outing against Michigan the week before. Clearly determined to run the ball, Penn State only gained 57 yards on the ground and 136 total yards in a sluggish 10-6 first half Saturday versus Rutgers.

The Nittany Lions offense then suffered a potentially devastating blow on the first drive of the second half after an awkward hit knocked starting QB Drew Allar out of the game with an injury.

Even without its former five-star QB, the Penn State offense found enough to pull away against the Scarlet Knights. Led by backup Beau Pribula, the Nittany Lions scored 17 points over their final three possessions to secure a 27-6 win.

Co-offensive coordinators Ja’Juan Seider and Ty Howle showed their share of adaptability in-game, almost altogether abandoning the pass in the second half, favoring the legs of Beau Pribula. Pribula completed one pass for nine yards but led Penn State with 71 rushing yards and a score. The Nittany Lions had 177 yards rushing in the second half to literally ground out a win.

James Franklin grades Nittany Lions offense in first game since Mike Yurcich firing

Good or bad, everyone knew that Penn State football coach James Franklin would be asked to evaluate his offense Saturday in the first game after he fired offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. But the grading of the offense took on a different tone after the injury that sidelined Drew Allar.

In his postgame remarks, Franklin commended his staff several times for their ability to create and stick to a game plan, seemingly a veiled shot at Yurcich. Franklin also highlighted how the offense adapted to the game with Beau Pribula under center.

“First of all, I was very pleased with the whole staff and the players in general,” Franklin said. “They handled it [the Yurcich firing] first class and were respectful. But then just got to work. I was pleased. I thought both Ja’Juan [Seider] and Ty [Howle] did a really nice job all week long, not only from an organizational standpoint, but then also from a leadership standpoint, then obviously from a scheme standpoint, and really the whole staff.”

“I think we had a good plan,” he continued. “But then obviously being able to mix Beau as well. They have to call the game differently. And I think we did a really good job having a plan, and I think our backs ran extremely hard. I thought we probably had a little bit more diversity in our run game with different punches, as [offensive analyst] Frank Leonard would like to say. Different punches that you can throw out. So, I thought I thought our coaches did a really nice job.”

This week will pose a new challenge for the Nittany Lions offense. Franklin and his staff will have to adapt on short rest with the possibility of not having Drew Allar for the season-finale. Penn State football takes on Michigan State Friday night in Ford Field.

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Alex joined Basic Blues Nation as Copy Editor for the 2023 Penn State football season. Alex has an extensive background in English and the Literary Arts, and previously served as an Editor for River & South Review. Alex is currently pursuing MFA in Creative Writing.


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