Penn State starts the season on the win column yet again. The Nittany Lions gutted out a victory over Purdue to start the season 1-0 for the 7th time in James Franklin’s tenure with the Lions. Here are three takeaways from the game.
1. They’ll run the ball or they’ll die trying
Penn State made a concerted effort to get the ball in the hands of their stable of running backs, with all four players seeing at least one series in the game. They ultimately ran the ball for 98 yards, two short of that elusive 100-yard game on the ground, but no one back established themselves as the clear leader, as Kaytron Allen, Keyvone Lee, and Nick Singleton all had 30 yards rushing (Allen and Singleton had 31, to be exact).
2. The offensive line is still a work in progress
They had their flashes today, where they gave enough push to create something, but there’s still a ways to go to get the line to where Penn State wants. As the game progressed, the Purdue defense started closing in and creating havoc for Sean Clifford and the gang, and the aforementioned backs could only muster 30 yards a pop. The good news, however, is that Sean Clifford was only sacked once in the game, and while he did take a bad hit in a different series, that he stayed mostly upright is a good sign for the future.
3. Another Blackout ruined
With less than two minutes to play, it looked like the Nittany Lions would start the season on the wrong end of the win/loss column. Earlier in the game, Clifford threw a costly interception that was returned for a touchdown, giving Purdue the lead as time was winding down. But in their last possession, Clifford found a way. The veteran quarterback spread the ball around to Mitchell Tinsley, KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Tyler Warren, and Keyvone Lee, while Kaytron Allen had some key runs as well, and they ultimately gutted out a victory.
It wasn’t the embarrassment that the Maryland blackout was, but maybe teams should stop having blackout when Penn State comes to town.