Penn State went into Jordan-Hare as a 2.5-point favorite. It was expected by some, including a couple BSD writers, that Auburn would win. That did not happen — at all. Although it took the Nittany Lions a little while to get going, Penn State made easy work of Auburn, defeating the Tigers 41-12.
It was a slow start for the Nittany Lions, with the Penn State offense failing to convert a fourth down on their first drive to give the Tigers a short field to start the game. The defense was liable to give up a few third-and-longs throughout the first half, but all-in-all, they bent but didn’t break, only allowing the Auburn offense two field goals through the first half.
The Penn State offense eventually got it going, though. Behind one of the strongest offensive line performances in recent memory, Clifford played a smart but conservative game in the first half, with two long drives — one of nine plays and the other of 11 plays — to give the Nittany Lions a 14-6 lead heading into the half.
Once the second half came, the floodgates opened in favor of the Nittany Lions. The aforementioned Penn State offensive line bullied the Auburn defense, paving the way for 245 yards on the ground — a much-delighted scene after last season here in Happy Valley. Both true freshman — Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen — scored two touchdowns on the day, with Singleton’s 54-yarder in the fourth quarter to make it 38-12 Penn State the exclamation point on a dominant day.
If you are a Penn State coach, player, or fan, you couldn’t have asked for a much better day. Other than some lapses on third-and-long, the defense was tremendous, forcing four turnovers and constantly generating pressure on TJ Finley and Robby Ashford. Offensively, Penn State made very few mistakes, and wore down the Auburn defense as the game went along. It was a refreshing thorough victory for the Nittany Lions, who now are looking at a potential 5-0 start to the season.
The best part? This team feels like it is just hitting its stride, from the running game offensively to the defensive line on the other side of the ball. It was a tough three-game stretch to start the season, but with the Nittany Lions now 3-0, it’s clear that this program has the potential for much more this year.