1) The first string offense was rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
Penn State’s first string offense was nearly unstoppable on Friday night . The Nittany Lions offense scored on six of its seven possessions. Sean Clifford was spectacular during his time on the field, completing 26 of 31 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns. He did have the one interception, but that came via a spectacular catch by Maryland defensive back Nick Cross.
The offense had success through the air and on the ground, with Clifford adding seven carries for 54 yards. Devyn Ford had seven totes for 43 yards and in total the Nittany Lions rushed for 198 yards. It was the KJ Hamler show through the air, which should make the Penn State coaching staff happy. Entering this week Franklin noted the Nittany Lions needed to get Hamler the ball more and they did that on Friday with him hauling in six receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown.
2) Penn State’s defense is one of the best in the country
Through four weeks, Penn State’s defense has been nothing short of spectacular. Entering the game, it’d only allowed 10.0 points per game and with the shutout on Friday night, that number is comes down to 7.5. Additionally, the Nittany Lions kept the Terps to a mere 128 yards from scrimmage and made starting quarterback Josh Jackson look like a true freshman playing in his first game. They kept a Maryland rushing attack that has averaged over 200 yards per game to just 60 yards on 34 carries. The Nittany Lions front seven came to play on Saturday with the defensive line especially looking good after a slow start to the season. The linebackers also stood out despite the loss of Micah Parsons in the first half to targeting. Both Jesse Luketa and Ellis Brooks stood out after rotating in early and often.
3) A fast start for once?
Penn State has not been known for having the fastest of starts to games in recent years. On Friday, that was not the case as the Nittany Lions came to play from the first seriese. On the first defensive series of the game, linebacker Jan Johnson intercepted a poorly thrown Jackson pass, setting up an easy Penn State touchdown. The offense added another touchdown in the quarter and 31 more points in the half to take a 38-0 into half time.
Today’s first half performance was a great sign for Penn State and the coaching staff, and should buy some favor for James Frankiln and Ricky Rahne. Franklin often gets flack for the Nittany Lions not always looking prepared, but that was far from the case on Friday night. Rahne, on the other hand, had arguably his best game as the offensive coordinator and should get credit for such from the fan base. The Nittany Lions showed on Saturday they have the talent to be a deadly offense going forward.