2022 Penn State football game grades: Purdue

Story posted September 3, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Logan Bourandas

It was ugly, but Penn State was able to get the job done on the road with a victory against the Purdue Boilermakers.

Despite losing an 11-point lead at one point, the blue and white battled back with some late-game heroics. Here’s a look at how each position group performed in the 35-31 victory.

Offense: B-

It’s extremely tough to give this low of a grade to an offense that scored 35 points, but it’s necessary here.

Sean Clifford proved to be streaky on Thursday despite throwing four touchdown passes. Clifford’s completion percentage was just above half, and he led more than his fair share of uninspiring drives.

That said, he came through when it mattered most and gave Penn State the late lead.

The run game was split on a rotational basis, providing mixed results. Collectively, the unit combined for just 98 yards, with Kaytron Allen leading with 31 of those yards.

Allen was one of the many freshmen who secured playing time on opening night as Nicholas Singleton had 22 yards on the ground, and Drew Allar even led the offense at quarterback for a drive.

Overall, the performance was reminiscent of last year's unit: inconsistent.

Defense: C+

Like the offense, this unit struggled for most of the game but came through when it mattered. There are a lot of new pieces with this defense, and that inexperience showed itself throughout the night.

Missed tackles and opportunities defined the early stages of the game, which allowed Aidan O’Connell to torch the unit for 356 passing yards and a touchdown.

King Doerue scored two touchdowns on the ground to pace the Boilermakers' rush offense.

However, late in the game, the unit forced a few three-and-outs in a row to allow Clifford a few extra chances to get the lead back, which he was eventually able to do.

It’s a small sample size so far, but there’s still work to be done.

Coaching: B+

The rotational backfield was interesting, as the four running backs struggled to gain momentum, having to switch out after every series.

While that was questionable, there’s still a lot that Franklin did right, which ultimately won Penn State the game.

Franklin handled the Allar situation perfectly, and it was one that, if handled poorly, could’ve cost the Nittany Lions the game.

Out of nowhere, Allar was tasked to come into the game in his first ever game as a Nittany Lion and got Penn State to midfield, making some great throws in the process.

Mitchell Tinsley was used very well in his first game as a Penn Stater, with 84 yards receiving and his first catch going for a touchdown.

The late-game planning worked out well for Franklin as the defense came through while the offense did just enough to get Penn State to 1-0.

Logan Bourandas is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.