COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND — Even when things looked so wrong, somehow they ended up so right for Penn State quarterback Drew Allar on Saturday afternoon. For Nittany Lions players and supporters alike, the hope is that their razor-sharp performance in the lead-up to their next “biggest-game-of-the-year” contest is a harbinger of things to come.
Allar threw three of his four touchdown passes in the first half for ninth-ranked Nittany Lions, who turned a potential trap game into a 51-15 rout of Maryland at SECU Stadium in College Park. Penn State’s defense recorded six sacks, largely contributing to Maryland’s staggering rushing total of minus-49 yards.
Almost all of Penn State’s six touchdowns were either of the spectacular or routine variety, but its second venture into the end zone clearly was of the bizarre. From the Maryland two-yard line on a third down, Allar lined up as a wide receiver before taking a pitch from quarterback Beau Pibula. After being rerouted up the middle, Allar, while being tripped up as he tried to run into the end zone, flipped a pass to a wide-open Theo Johnson for a touchdown and a 14-0 Nittany Lions lead.
“I definitely just try to make plays happen when things break down,” Allar said. “Theo did a great job of staying in my vision on that play. It’s something that I want to keep working on and keep building on — playing a little bit more free and loose.”
Maryland, who has lost four straight after starting the season 5-0, looked primed to match Penn State score-for-score, especially with quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa completing his first 17 passes of the contest. One of those completions, however, went for a one-yard loss to Corey Dyches on a fourth-and-1 on Maryland’s first possession. The turnover on downs gave the Nittany Lions the ball at Maryland’s 44-yard-line, and Allar turned the drive into points with a six-yard scoring strike to Dante Cephus.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday afternoon’s contest, with all photos taken by DC-area photographer Rodney Pierce. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 37 pictures in total.