The announced 107,306 fans at Beaver Stadium on Saturday offered one of its loudest ovations to Drew Allar when the Penn State freshman quarterback jogged onto the field with the offense early in the third quarter against Ohio.
But Allar, who was a five-star recruit and the No. 1 quarterback in the Class of 2022 in 247Sports’ evaluation, didn’t notice. Instead, he was focused on the task at hand.
“No, I kind of try to block out all the noise because that’s what the coaches preach to us,” Allar told Penn State’s in-house media team. “Block out all the noise, all that matters is the team and how we’re doing on each play and have a six-second mentality.”
Penn State traditionally doesn’t make true freshmen available to the media under coach James Franklin, so Allar was absent from the postgame scrum in the Beaver Stadium media room Saturday evening. But Penn State Football Strategic Communications released a 2-minute interview with Allar on Sunday morning discussing the quarterback’s Beaver Stadium debut and the beginning of his career.
In the 46-10 win over Ohio, Allar relieved starter Sean Clifford for the second drive in the third quarter. Allar piloted four consecutive drives, and three of those ended in touchdowns. Allar was 6-of-8 passing for 88 yards and touchdowns passes of 32 and 28 yards to wide receiver Omari Evans and tight end Khalil Dinkins, respectively, while another drive ended in a 44-yard touchdown run by fellow five-star freshman Nick Singleton. The touchdown pass to Evans was the first of both freshmen’s careers.
“It was surreal,” Allar said in the above video. “I mean, you can only dream of it. Being a recruit here, coming to the White Out game last year, I just couldn’t wait, and I’m just glad we got the victory today. It was a great team win.”
Read more: Penn State freshman QB Drew Allar lives up to Beaver Stadium hype in home debut
During postgame interviews with Franklin and other Penn State players, the description of Allar that stood out was poised. He’s made an impression on the locker room with how he’s approached the game since his arrival from Medina (Ohio) High in January, and his teammates have seen how that carries over to the field, especially when he entered the season opener at Purdue when Clifford was dealing with cramps in the locker room. Franklin said the game already seems to have slowed down for Allar.
The touchdown pass to Dinkins showcased that. Allar evaded a free Ohio rusher off the edge, stepped up in the pocket and found Dinkins wide open downfield for the touchdown.
“First off, I want to give a shoutout to the O-line,” Allar said. “Without them, we couldn’t operate, and it makes it easy when I’m playing with guys like Nick Singleton out there, just having to turn around and give the ball to him and he’ll take it to the house. It just makes it really easy on me, and then as far as with the pass game, I was just trying to keep it simple, stick to my read keys that coaches have been installing throughout the whole spring, since I’ve been here and this week with the game plan that we had coming in, so I was just super excited how we performed out there when I was out there.”
Read more: 5-star freshman Nick Singleton announces his arrival at Penn State with 179 yards, 2 TDs
Allar, who beat out redshirt freshman Christian Veilleux and freshman Beau Pribula for the No. 2 job behind Clifford, got run with first-teamers Saturday despite entering the game in the third quarter. Allar’s six completions went to six different players, including two starters in tight end Brenton Strange and wide receiver Parker Washington.
As his drives went on, Penn State dipped deeper into the depth chart, but Allar showed an ability to connect with the talent up and down the roster.
“It’s crazy. We have talent at every position, O-line, quarterback, running back, receiver and even defensively, we have a ton of talent, too,” Allar said. “So it’s just crazy being a part of a team that’s this talented.”
One of Penn State’s goals entering Saturday was to get younger players, including Allar, valuable reps. Franklin and company know they’re going to need these players to step up at some point this season. The Nittany Lions have seen firsthand what happens when a backup quarterback is unprepared for a given situation. Allar passed his first test at Purdue, and he excelled against Ohio.
For Allar, the time on the field at Beaver Stadium is the next step as he continues to acclimate to the college game. The playing time was valuable, and it’s something that could benefit both Allar and Penn State as the season goes on.
“I think it’s just super important for long term and just how I want my development to go,” Allar said. “Every rep is something to learn from, good or bad, obviously there’s a lot of stuff I still need to improve on, but I’m taking it one rep at a time, and tomorrow we’ll go in and watch the film and see what happens.”
Read more: Drew Allar, Nick Singleton shine as Penn State trounces Ohio, 46-10: game balls, turning points