Penn State Football

Penn State football beats Purdue 35-7 after hot start Saturday afternoon

Another game, another lopsided win.

Despite a lackadaisical second half, Penn State still cruised to a 35-7 win over Purdue on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium, tallying 460 total offensive yards and 10 sacks. The Nittany Lions led 28-0 early in the second quarter but sputtered after that.

With the injuries and absences of Purdue All-American WR Rondale Moore and QB Elijah Sindelar, the Boilermakers didn’t have the firepower to challenge the Nittany Lions’ defense or overcome a rough first quarter. Penn State started off hot, allowing just 49 yards in the first half while scoring four touchdowns on its first four drives.

Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford may have let up a bit in the second half but still finished with 264 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also had 33 rushing yards and another score.

With the win, Penn State improves to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference. Purdue falls to 1-4 and 0-2 in the Big Ten.

Player(s) of the game

Penn State QB Sean Clifford and DE Shaka Toney: With pressure on seemingly every play, Shaka Toney and the PSU defensive line made sure Purdue’s top-10 passing offense never took off. Toney had three sacks in just the first half and helped hold the Boilermakers to a single touchdown.

On offense, it was once again Sean Clifford who did just about everything. When the game mattered most, in the first half, Clifford was 11-of-14 for 205 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also led the offense in rushing after two quarters with 32 yards and another score.

Clifford completed nine straight passes during a first-half stretch and, when he was “on,” no one on Purdue was stopping him. Part of that had to do with Purdue’s poor secondary, but — for the most part — Clifford also made the right decisions and showed a lot of poise. His second half wasn’t as strong, but the running game really didn’t take off until late in the final quarter.

Play of the game

WR Jahan Dotson’s 72-yard catch-and-run TD: OK, this game was never exactly in doubt. But Dotson really put the game out of reach late in the first quarter when he gave the Nittany Lions a 21-0 advantage.

On second-and-11, Sean Clifford found Dotson open over the middle for 17 yards. But Dotson — who’s the offense’s athletic “freak,” according defensive freak Jayson Oweh — had too much space to work with, and Purdue was forced to pay. Dotson sprinted another 55 yards after the catch to complete the 72-yard touchdown.

Even with four Purdue defenders around him — one to his left, one behind him, three to his right — Dotson juked the man to his left, found a seam down the sideline and followed Daniel George and KJ Hamler to daylight. He ran about 40 yards down the sideline for the easy score.

It was the longest play of the day.

Stat of the game

206 to 1: That was the total offensive yardage after the first quarter. In case it’s not completely obvious, the Nittany Lions had the 206 yards — 156 passing yards, 50 rushing yards — while Purdue had a single rushing yard. Boilermakers QB Jack Plummer was 0-for-6 passing in the first quarter.

That complete dominance set the tone for the rest of the game. Although the Nittany Lions couldn’t maintain that pace, that yardage differential helped give PSU an early 28-0 lead. The Nittany Lions were impressive on offense and defense; Purdue was not. Nothing told that story better than the yards after the first 15 minutes.

Up next

at Iowa: No. 12 Penn State (5-0) will take on the No. 14 Iowa Hawkeyes (4-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, in Kinnick Stadium.

The Hawkeyes fell to Michigan on the road 10-3 Saturday but should still be ranked within the top 25 when the two teams meet in Iowa. The Hawkeyes will be the first ranked team Penn State has faced this season and should be the toughest test to date.

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