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Turning Point: Terps’ Early Gamble Backfires, Lions Pounce

Penn State’s defense set the tone of this game from the opening drive.

Penn State v Maryland Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Even though Penn State didn’t truly put their game against Maryland to bed until early in the fourth quarter, when Kaytron Allen dragged a few Terps defender into the end zone to put the Lions back up by three scores, there were some pretty ominous signs early on that PSU had the upper hand, namely the defensive front seven against Maryland’s offensive line.

This was the case on the opening drive of the game for the Terps, as they faced a fourth-and-one situation from their own 45-yard line. Despite being mired in 2nd-and-24 just a couple of plays earlier, thanks to a personal foul penalty, Taulia managed to hit a 12-yard completion, followed by an 11-yard completion on third down that came up just a yard shy of moving the chains. Instead of punting and potentially pinning the Lions inside their own red zone, Mike Locksley decided to go for it, which resulted in a screen pass getting blown up for no gain, thanks to Curtis Jacobs and Jaylen Reed being on the spot, as you’ll see in the video clip below.

Penn State would go on to utilize the excellent starting field position after the turnover on downs to draw first blood with a touchdown, as the defense continued to do their thing, garnering six sacks and four turnovers in total. It may have taken until later in the game to put this one on ice, but the fourth down stop really set the tone from the beginning for how this game might end up finishing.