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Penn State’s Dominic DeLuca doesn’t let 2nd chance slip through his fingers

STATE COLLEGE — Dominic DeLuca dropped his first opportunity for an interception and potential touchdown Saturday.

He wasn’t going to let a second chance slip through his fingers.

DeLuca returned Zach Marker’s interception 26 yards for his first college touchdown to help No. 7 Penn State wallop Delaware 63-7 at Beaver Stadium.

“I might have nightmares about that first one (if he didn’t catch the second one),” DeLuca said. “But I’m just happy that all my boys did their job, got that pass rush fast and got the quarterback to throw the ball fast. I just made my play.”

DeLuca, a former high school quarterback and safety at Wyoming Area, last reached the end zone in the 2019 PIAA Class 3A title game against Central Valley. He scored the game-winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak.

“Yeah, Dec. 7,” he said. “It’s been a while. I’m just grateful for the opportunity I have. I want to thank Coach (James) Franklin for that and for believing in me and believing in my skills.”

DeLuca dropped a potential interception in the second quarter inside the Delaware 20.

“Coach Diaz (defensive coordinator Manny Diaz) always says it (preparing) is like cheating on a test,” he said. “You know the answer already. You might as well take it. I was just happy.

“It was a surreal feeling. It felt really good. There’s nothing better than celebrating a great play with all my boys in the end zone.”

Pribula shines: Penn State backup quarterback Beau Pribula enjoyed a second strong performance in a row, accounting for 68 yards and two touchdowns.

Pribula replaced starter Drew Allar after the first Lions offensive series of the second half, completed 3-of-5 passes for 22 yards and one TD and rushed eight times for 46 yards and another score.

“He played outstanding today,” Allar said about Pribula. “He’s a very dynamic athlete. He showed that a lot today. He broke off a couple explosive runs. He was very physical. He also made some really nice passes, too, and changed protections.

“It was good to see him get out there and play so well.”

Deep roster: Penn State used 76 players in Saturday’s game, including 12 true freshmen.

Seven true freshmen made their college debuts: offensive tackle J’ven Williams (Wyomissing), quarterback Jaxon Smolik, linebackers Ta’Mere Robinson and Kaveion Keys, offensive lineman Chimdy Onoh, offensive lineman Anthony Donkoh and tight end Andrew Rappleyea.

Five freshmen made their debuts in the opener against West Virginia and played Saturday: cornerback Zion Tracy, linebacker Tony Rojas, cornerback Elliot Washington II, defensive end Jameial Lyons and safety King Mack.

“It was awesome,” senior safety Keaton Ellis said. “You can’t take those reps for granted. I was a freshman once, too. Being able to get your feet is huge. It’s tremendous, especially moving forward. I’m really happy to get those guys in the game.”

Berks report: Four Berks County products were in uniform for Saturday’s game, three for Penn State and one for Delaware.

Sophomore running back Nick Singleton (Gov. Mifflin) and freshman offensive tackle J’ven Williams (Wyomissing) played for the Nittany Lions. Freshman tight end Joey Schlaffer (Exeter) was in uniform but did not play.

Freshman offensive lineman Anthony Caccese (Exeter) made the Blue roster but did not play.

Williams made a couple nice blocks to spring third-team back Trey Potts.

“I think J’ven did well,” senior right tackle Caedan Wallace said. “He finished a couple guys. He’s a competitor. Seeing him go out there and put stuff on tape was awesome.”

Availability report: Wide receiver and special teams captain Mailk Meiga was the most significant addition Saturday to the Penn State availability report that was released by the Big Ten.

Meiga was listed as out, along with defensive tackle Coziah Izzard, defensive end Amin Vanover and wide receiver Daequan Hardy.

Wide receiver Omari Evans was listed as questionable for the second straight game, even though he practiced in the last several days. Evans saw action and caught a 4-yard TD pass.

Honorary captains: Former Penn State guard Mark Markovich and linebacker Ed O’Neil served as honorary captains for the Nittany Lions.

Markovich, O’Neil and their 1973 teammates were recognized on the 50th anniversary of their unbeaten season (12-0).

Source: Berkshire mont

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