DeAndre Thompkins’s role in the Nittany Lions offense was unclear following the first two weeks of the season. As the most experienced member of a young and talented receiving corps, Thompkins was expected to be a reliable playmaking option with built-in chemistry with Trace McSorley. But after two games, Thompkins still had yet to catch a pass. To make matters worse, Thompkins had three drops in the rain against Pitt a week ago.
It didn’t take long for Thompkins to put that performance behind him. On the very first drive against Kent State, Thompkins laid out for a stunning 40-yard leaping touchdown grab that he somehow managed to haul in before hitting the ground. That was just the start for Thompkins. He would go on for a four-catch, 101 yard performance, the second 100-plus receiving game of his career.
Thompkins also gave a boost to the offense’s starting field position with his usual stellar performance as a punt returner. He returned three punts on the day for an average of 20.7 yards per return, and a long of 32 that may have been his second return touchdown in as many weeks if not for a beautiful open-field tackle by Kent State. Thompkins continues to stake his claim as one of the very best return men in the nation, and is a legitimate threat to reach the end zone every time he’s back to receive.
DEs Shareef Miller and Jayson Oweh- The present and future of Penn State’s defensive end unit combined forces to help the Wild Dogs shut down the line of scrimmage for most of Saturday afternoon. Both had two sacks apiece, with Miller totaling three TFLs in his second consecutive dominating performance.
QB Trace McSorley- The man who makes Penn State’s potent offense go totaled 283 total yards and five touchdowns. He also had three touchdown passes negated thanks to inopportune penalties, but never let it prevent the Nittany Lions find their way to the end zone.
RB Miles Sanders- Sanders has been the most consistent player for Penn State through three weeks. Against the Flashes, Sanders finished with 116 yards of total offense while averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
WR KJ Hamler- Penn State’s breakout star only had three touches, but made them all count- a 52 yard kick return, a beautiful 33 yard punt return that had no business being more than a minimal gain, and a 22-yard reception.
WR Daniel George- It was just one reception, but it also happened to be the longest play from scrimmage in the storied history of Penn State Football. The true freshman’s first career reception went for a 95-yard touchdown. After faking a Kent State defender out of his shoes, George found himself wide open and Sean Clifford did the rest, hitting him right in stride for the icing on the cake of a blowout victory.