Published by: Bear Acuda
On an early Saturday afternoon in Atlanta, GA, the 11th-ranked Ole Miss achieved a remarkable feat, securing their rst ever 11-win season in the program’s history with a commanding 38-25 victory over 10th-ranked Penn State. PSU missed out on their opportunity to clinch the last square on their “New Year’s Six Bowls” bingo card in their rst ever matchup with the Runnin’ Rebels. This triumph is a testament to the potent oense crafted by oensive guru, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kin.
Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart was also instrumental in the victory, completing 25 out of 40 passes for a total of 379 yards, including three touchdowns. Dart helped provide the juice which aided Peach Bowl MVP, TE Caden Prieskorn. Dart connected with Prieskorn (who looks more like a chubby blocking tight end) for two touchdowns in the rst half. Prieskorn balled-out for 10 receptions and a personal best of 136 yards receiving, along with his two receiving tuggs and a 2-point conversion (for little extra icing-on-the-cake).
The Nittany Lions could not contain him, particularly on wheel routes where he was often left unguarded, which is a testament to the innovative oense of Lane Kin. Kin uses receivers as decoys to free up the rst-read throw for his quarterbacks better than any in college football.
Dart’s success continued in the second half, with a 14-yard touchdown pass to running back Quinshon Judkins, and a decisive 2-yard touchdown run by Dart himself in the fourth quarter. Their oense was like a well-conducted orchestra, hitting every note with a smooth simplicity. Then again, maybe it was just that the oense for PSU was so bad, it made them look more like Beethoven when compared to the Title-One middle school band of Penn State.
Penn State’s oense was boring and vanilla, with apparent deciencies leading to diculties throughout the game. This is no new headline for fans of PSU, like the ones in my family. The Peach Bowl was but a continuation of their season-long challenges on the oensive side of the ball. Our supposed 5-star wunderkin, sophomore quarterback Drew Allar, looked uneasy and out of sync all game.
Allar managed 19 completions out of 39 attempts for 295 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, but a large portion of those stats came after Ole Miss went up 21 points and began playing a safe, prevent defense. Allar’s best play of the game came o mental mistake; his game-high 75 yard pass reception came after attempting a risky throw that was deected by an Ole Miss defender and luckily fell in the arms of an awaiting Tyler Warren
On the other hand, Ole Miss excelled in making signicant aerial plays. Dart achieved ten passing plays that covered 15 yards or more while Penn State only managed ten rst downs by the end of the third quarter. The game unfolded in a manner that seemed tailor-made for Kin’s strategy.
Ole Miss ran 20 more plays than PSU, executing a total of 88 plays compared to Penn State’s 68. Kin, known for his “hyper-speed oense”, masterfully switched between clock-management and hurry-up oense, catching PSU with 12 men on the eld multiple times. Interestingly, Penn State averaged more yards per play (7.5) compared to Ole Miss (6.1), a stat I had to look at twice. Watching the game, it felt like we were either running the ball for three yards, or trying to dink-and-dunk it, giving easy, quick reads for Allar, in an attempt to help him nd some rhythm and condence.
Early in the game, Penn State showed promise, momentarily putting Ole Miss under pressure. PSU was successful throwing TE tunnel screens over the blitzing ILBs, but that was about it. The defensive line was eective, and we even managed two turnovers in the rst quarter: an interception and a fumble. However, instant replays later overturned them, and Ole Miss would later convert the missed opportunities into points for them.
Penn State would never recover.
Now, it will be up to incoming oensive coordinator, former KU football guru Andy Kotelnicki, to reinvent this boring, oensive oense. Otherwise, it will be another entry on the ever-growing list of talented, pro-prospects (pocket passers) who go to Penn State to die (professionally speaking). Just ask Christian Hackenberg. Which leads to the next obvious questions:
Should Drew Allar transfer to a school that will highlight his physical tools?
Will OC Andy Kotelnicki see backup dual-threat quarterback (and fan-favorite) Beau Pribula as a better fit to his oense?
Who will be the starting quarterback for Penn State next fall?
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