Oh, Maryland. You need to beat the team you so desperately want to claim a ‘rival’ more than once every half-century in order for it to be a true rivalry...
Trace McSorley threw for 233 yards and a pair touchdowns while also adding a rushing touchdown of his own, to boot. Perhaps the most interesting stat from the offense though, was Tommy Stevens ending up as Penn State’s leading rusher with 113 yards on 12 carries and three TD’s (along with a passing TD). With barely any pass rush coming from the Maryland defense, the two quarterbacks had all day to do as they pleased.
Running Back: A-
Saquon Barkley once again was held under 100 yards rushing (16 carries for 77 yards), but did find the end zone twice, including on one of his patented leaps over the goal line. Miles Sanders looked pretty smooth as well, running for 47 yards on his seven total carries, with his longest being a 31-yarder. While it wasn’t a spectacular performance from this unit, it was most certainly fine.
Wide Receiver/Tight End: A
How about that one-handed TD grab by Mike Gesicki? And how about backup tight end Tom Pancoast getting his first career TD in garbage time? Gesicki was one of three Nittany Lion receivers to catch five or more balls, along with DaeSean Hamilton (59 yards on five catches) and Juwan Johnson (63 yards on six catches). The Terps’ secondary was simply no match for this crew.
Offensive Line: A
When you only allow one sack and ensure that running plays aren’t getting blown up behind the line of scrimmage, you are doing a damn fine job. Even without Ryan Bates out there once again, it was encouraging to see the offensive line string together a second straight solid performance.
Defensive Line: A
Shane Simmons played like a man possessed in getting after Maryland quarterback Max Bortenschlager, nearly sacking him a couple of times. Shareef Miller also had a nice comeback game, garnering three tackles, including a tackle for a loss and a QB hurry. Kevin Givens and Daniel Joseph also recorded sacks and Robert Windsor recovered a fumble on what appeared to be a promising drive for Maryland.
Brandon Smith led all defenders in tackles with five of them, while Jason Cabinda manned the middle quite effectively with his four tackles including a sack. Along with the D-line, they held Maryland to just 124 rushing yards and stuffed the Terps in several 3rd-and-short or 4th-and-short situations where they Terps merely needed a yard to keep the chains moving.
This was a very active unit, as four different secondary players had four tackles each (Lamont Wade, Christian Campbell, Marcus Allen, and Tariq Castro-Fields). Grant Haley also had a lovely sack on a corner blitz. While they gave up 185 yards through the air, this unit was the very definition of ‘bend but don’t break’ as they did not allow the Terps to reach red zone once all game.
Special Teams: A
The McPhearson-2-McPhearson connection was in full swing, as Josh McPhearson forced a fumble in punt coverage that was recovered by his younger brother Zechariah. Tyler Davis was perfect on all ten of his kicks (nine extra points and one field goal) and strategically avoided booting the ball to Maryland’s dangerous return men on kickoffs. Blake Gillikin did a fine job once again of flipping field position, averaging 45 yards on his four punts with a long of 52. It would have been nice to see something big from the kickoff or punt return units, but that’s just me looking for things to nitpick in a 66-3 beatdown.