Penn State Football, and Christian Veilleux may have answered a huge question during their 28-0 shutout victory over Rutgers past Saturday afternoon
Heading into the noon kickoff against Rutgers on November 20th, most Penn State Football fans had already turned the page on the 2021 season, due in large part to the 6-4 record the Nittany Lions were sporting.
And why not look towards next season?
James Franklin and his coaching staff were looking at bringing in the No. 1 overall QB (Drew Allar) and one of the top RB recruits (Nicholas Singleton). Throw in two other top-50 recruits (Dani Dennis-Sutton and Kaden Saunders) and it’s easy to see why there’s optimism for the direction and future of the program.
But there’s potentially one tiny problem going into next season.
Is Penn State Football really going to turn the offense over to a true freshman when the Nittany Lions face these four opponents in the first six games of the season?
9/3/21 @ Purdue
9/17/21 @ Auburn
10/1/21 Ohio State
10/8/21 @ Michigan
Even though Sean Clifford does have the ability to come back next season and play, it doesn’t mean he will.
You can say what you want about Clifford’s accuracy and at times, bad turnovers, but the dude has flat out balled his entire career. He’s probably played through more pain than most people could imagine this season, and he’s always dusted himself off and jogged back to the huddle or the sideline.
So if Clifford decides to not play next season, then Franklin and Mike Yurcich would potentially have a difficult decision to make in the offseason.
Do they throw a true freshman into an ocean that is on fire (another oil spill) and see if he floats? Or do they go hard at the portal to see if it can produce a stopgap between Clifford and Allar/Pribula?
Well, worry no more. Because after what we saw Saturday, I can’t imagine it will be anyone other than Christian Veilleux.
Veilleux took over for an ailing and injured Clifford early in the second quarter and took his first drive 29 yards and second drive only nine yards before having to punt each time.
But Christian was just getting settled in. And he showed incredible poise, a good arm, and some nice touch on passes the rest of the day as Penn State found the end zone four times in the next six drives to put the game out of reach.
Veilleux also added a handful of nimble runs to extend drives and keep the chains moving. Even though Matt Millen said otherwise in the broadcast, Christian can beat defenses with his legs if given the opportunity.
Both Noah Cain and Keyvone Lee ran the ball effectively and the receiving corps made several nice catches to help out their freshman QB. Really, what I saw on the field was pretty incredible considering Christian Veilleux hadn’t played in a football game since 2019 and the Nittany Lions were rocked with an illness going through the locker room. After the game it was reported Penn State was without 35 players and no scholarship quarterbacks had practiced on Friday.
Before we tied a bow on the full ramifications of Veilleux’s performance from Saturday, I would like to first put it into perspective. So let’s take a look at how each Penn State QB has done in their first meaningful action in the last two decades.