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Turning Point: Sean Clifford Threads the Needle to Mitchell Tinsley to Quash Bobcat Momentum Right Before Halftime

What was looking an uncomfortable halftime lead became comfortable, thanks to a well-executed two-minute drill

Ohio v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Penn State got off to a solid start against Ohio by scoring the game’s first 19 points. The Bobcats however, strung together an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to make it a 19-7 ball game with only 1:29 to play in the half and suddenly, the momentum was in the Bobcats’ favor, triggering at least some PSU fans’ PTSD from 2012’s loss to Ohio.

Sean Clifford would have none of it though, as he helped engineer a two-minute drill that saw Cliff hit KeAndre Lambert-Smith a couple of times for big gains. On a crucial 3rd and 10 from Ohio’s 41-yard line, Cliff fired a pass to Parker Washington, who seemingly tightroped the sidelines all the way into the end zone for a crucial, momentum-shifting, PSU touchdown...that is, until replay review determined that Parker stepped out of bounds at the seven.

With 15 seconds remaining in the half and seven yards from the end zone, Cliff took the snap, and stood there in the pocket waiting for Mitchell Tinsley to run his crossing route across the end zone. Cliff fired an absolute zinger in between two Ohio defenders and straight into Tinsley’s hands for the TD. Instead of taking a shaky 12-point lead into the locker room, PSU took a more comfortable 19-point lead from which they would never look back from.

What if PSU only comes away with a field goal or no points at all, and it remains a two-score game? While I have no doubt PSU still ultimately pulls away to win comfortably, it likely would have taken longer to do so. More importantly, does Drew Allar get as much run as he did in the real-life scenario? Thankfully, we will never have to answer those questions, because for the second week in a row, PSU beautifully executed the two-minute drill, and that my friends, is your turning point of the Ohio game.