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Shreddin’ the Turtles: Penn State 51 Maryland 15

Drew Allar shows his potential, and the pass rush shuts down any chance of Maryland offensive success.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

On a gorgeous November day in College Park, Penn State mauled Maryland 51-15.

Penn State won the toss, and deferred their choice, so the Terps got the ball to start the game. Taulia Tagovailoa completed his first two passes, moving the chains for a quick first down, but a short run and an illegal blind-side block pushed back the offense, leading to a fourth down and one from their own 45 that was shut down by Jaylen Reed and Curtis Jacobs.

Drew Allar and the offense started in enemy territory, and converted an early third down on a short completion to KeAndre Lambert-Smith to the Maryland 30. Two plays later, Kaytron Allen used a nice jump cut to get down to the 16, and Allen took another handoff up the middle to the six, setting up first and goal. Allar threw a nice fade to Dante Cephas, and the transfer receiver was able to secure the catch and get a foot down in the end zone to cap the eight play, 44-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead with 8:41 left in the first quarter.

Tagovailoa hooked up with Tai Felton on a deep throw down the middle of the field, and two plays later, Maryland had the ball at the Nittany Lion 32. Fortunately for the Nittany Lions, the defense came up huge again, with Adisa Isaac forcing a fumble on a pass completion that was recovered by Zane Durant to end the threat. Penn State was unable to move the ball thanks to a Caedan Wallace penalty, and gave it back to Maryland at the Terrapin 31.

The Terps gained six yards on three plays, and punted the ball away for the first time, pinning Penn State at the 23 with four minutes remaining in the first quarter.

Allar used a QB draw to run for seven yards and a first down to the 35, and two plays later, he hit Lambert-Smith on a slant that the speedster broke for 38 yards. Another first down completion to Tyler Warren made it first and goal, and on third and goal, backup quarterback Beau Pribula took the direct snap, ran left, and tossed it to Allar, who avoided a sack by flipping it forward to Theo Johnson in the end zone, giving Penn State a 14-0 lead with two seconds left in the first quarter. As BSD’s own Chris Lucia said, “Just like they Drew it up.”

Tagovailoa completed his 13th consecutive pass on another deep shot, this time down the right sideline to Kaden Prather, giving Maryland the ball at the Penn State 43. However, Curtis Jacobs chased down Tagovailoa on a quarterback scramble, and Johnny Dixon collected a sack on a blitz to seemingly end the drive. Unfortunately, Liam Clifford was flagged for roughing the punter, giving the Terrapins a new set of downs at the Penn State 39. Maryland failed to move the ball on their first two downs, but Prather nabbed the ball at the 21, and the offense took advantage of a Dixon unnecessary roughness penalty to give Maryland first and goal. On the ensuing play, Tagovailoa hit Roman Hemby for his 17th straight completion and a touchdown, cutting the Penn State lead to 14-7 with 7:59 left in the half.

On the next drive, Allar scrambled for 21 yards on third and six from the Penn State 41, and two plays later, he hit Warren over the middle to the 22. Three plays later, Cephas got open and down to the six, and on second and goal, Warren caught a beautifully thrown ball in the top left of the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown, making it 21-7 with 2:34 to go in the half.

Maryland picked up a first down on a nice sliding grab by Jeshaun Jones, but was unable to get the ball past the Penn State 48, and the visitors took a two-score lead into the break. Allar was 13 of 16 for 124 yards and three first-half touchdowns, and while Tagovailoa was 22 of 25 for 211 yards, the Penn State defense collected four sacks in the opening two stanzas.

The Nittany Lions started their first drive of the second half 83 yards from the end zone, and after two Allen runs for 11 total yards, Allar hit Theo Johnson for a 12-yard pass on the sideline. A roughing the passer penalty moved the ball to the Maryland 43, and Allar hit a wide-open Khalil Dinkins on fourth and two, setting up first down at the 20. Kaden Saunders just missed a touchdown catch, and two short passes were not enough to move the sticks, resulting in an Alex Felkins 30-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 24-7.

After three consecutive punts, Penn State started their third drive of the second half at their own 12. A 19-yard run by Allen and 10-yard completion to Cephas moved the ball to the 42, and Allen muscled up the middle for another conversion on third and short. KeAndre Lambert-Smith picked up their fourth first down of the drive two plays later with a nifty catch-and-run, and the game went to the fourth quarter with Penn State driving at the Maryland 28. On third and four, Allen was stopped two yards short, but Allar hit a crossing Tyler Warren who took the ball 11 yards downfield to continue the drive. The sophomore then dropped a gorgeous throw right in Cephas’ hands for a 15-yard touchdown, making it 31-7 with 13:55 left.

Maryland benefited from a questionable pass interference call on fourth down and seven in their own territory, and got another gift with a roughing the passer call on Dani Dennis-Sutton, eventually moving the ball to the Penn State 31. Following that, Tai Felton broke several tackles and tiptoed down the sideline to the 1, and Tagovailoa hit Jeshaun Jones in the end zone, adding the two-point conversion to make it 31-15 with 11:27 remaining.

Penn State would answer quickly. Nicholas Singleton started the next drive with a 51-yard kick return, and Lambert-Smith took an Allar pass for 20 yards to the Maryland 21. After Allar picked up another first down on third and short, Allen carried defenders 10 yards for the game-clinching score, making it 38-15 with 9:14 to go.

On Maryland’s next possession, Tagovailoa threw it right to Dom DeLuca, who returned the interception 35 yards to the Terrapin 20. Felkins hit a 35-yard field goal to make the advantage 41-15. The defense got a strip-sack from true freshman Tony Rojas on the next play and another Felkins field goal, making it 44-15.

Rojas added an interception on Maryland’s final drive of the game, and Beau Pribula ran it up the middle for yet another score, making the final score 51-15.

Drew Allar was 25 of 34 for 240 yards and four touchdowns through the air, and added 39 yards on the ground. Kaytron Allen led the Nittany Lions in rushing with 14 carries for 91 yards, while KeAndre Lambert-Smith had 95 yards receiving and Dante Cephas turned in his best day as a Nittany Lion with two touchdown catches. Defensively, Penn State collected six sacks, and thanks to the sacks, held Maryland to -49 yards rushing as a team.