It might not have been pretty, but Penn State snapped its three-game losing streak, knocking off Maryland 31-14 en route to gaining bowl eligibility. The story of the game: Jahan freaking Dotson. Penn State’s star wide receiver was dominant, hauling in 11 receptions for 242 yards and three touchdowns.
It was a slow start for both sides, with Penn State having two three-and-outs before finally finding the end zone with Dotson’s first touchdown of the game. The Nittany Lions continued to move the ball through the rest of the first half — having drives 10, 12, 8, and 6 plays — but they couldn’t find pay dirt. Instead, they went into halftime with a slight 7-6 lead, thanks to a missed PAT from Maryland.
The Nittany Lions padded to their lead in the second half, scoring on their first drive after halftime to go up 14-6. But the lead wasn’t held for long, as the Terrapins scored on the immediate next drive, and converted the two-point conversion to make it a 14-14 ballgame going into the fourth quarter.
It was all Penn State in the final frame though, with Dotson starting the scoring by finding the end zone for his third score. From there, the Penn State defense locked down — with a pick six from safety Ji’Ayir Brown to secure the victory for the Nittany Lions.
For those that watched the game, this was not the type of performance that will quell worries about just how good this team is. Yes, they had success moving the ball offensively, but they also struggled turning that into points. And yes, the defense held the Terrapins to just 14 points — but the 371 passing yards through the air was not ideal. Regardless, a win is a win. For a Penn State team that was on a three-game skid, this was one they needed. And fortunately, they got it.