Penn State wasn’t always at the top of its game on Saturday, but it didn’t have to be to pick up a 35-7 victory on its 100th Homecoming Weekend.
The Nittany Lions started out red hot, forcing an early stop and then taking the ball 56 yards in 2:32 for a touchdown, capped by a 23-yard pass from Sean Clifford to KJ Hamler.
After the defense got the ball immediately back, Clifford capped the second Penn State drive with a nifty 3-yard run to make it 14-0 early.
It seemed like we might be in for a laugher when Clifford hit Jahan Dotson in stride for a 72-yard score just two minutes later to make it 21-0, and an early second-quarter touchdown pass to Pat Freiermuth only cemented that thought.
However, things got a little bumpy from there.
Penn State amassed 325 yards on those first four drives, but racked up just 135 over the next 2.5 quarters. Clifford underthrew Hamler on the fifth drive and the sixth ended with a missed field goal from Jake Pinegar.
Meanwhile, Purdue got on the board with a touchdown pass from Jack Plummer to Amad Anderson to make the score 28-7 at half.
Neither team scored in the third as the Penn State faithful began to get a bit restless.
The crowd was satiated and the game put away with 5:44 left in the fourth quarter when Noah Cain wrapped up an impressive drive with a 2-yard plunge.
News and Notes
- The Nittany Lions racked up 10 sacks on the day, one short of the program record. Shaka Toney had three and Yetur Gross-Matos two.
- Cain led Penn State with 12 carries for 105 yards a touchdown.
- Clifford finished 20 of 29 for 264 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He added 33 on the ground and a score.
- Penn State played without injured wideouts Justin Shorter and Cam Sullivan-Brown.
- Tariq Castro-Fields left the game early with an injury. While he didn’t return, he was not tended to on the sidelines. Donovan Johnson missed the game with an injury, his second straight.
- Cam Brown was initially ejected for targeting but returned upon review.
- Dotson led all receivers with 79 yards on two catches, while Nick Bowers had 66 on three.
- KJ Hamler had five touches on offense but just 32 yards and struggled in the return game, fumbling once and appearing to injure himself on another.
- Lamont Wade led the defense with 11 tackles.
- Purdue’s touchdown snapped a shutout streak of over seven quarters for the Penn State defense.
- The defense is now allowing just 7.4 points per game.