Defensive takeaways and strong run game propels Penn State to victory
AUBURN, Ala – Penn State made its way to Jordan-Hare Stadium to battle Auburn for its second road game of the year.
A tight contest in the early going shifted to an all-around performance from the visitors as the Nittany Lions claimed victory, 41-12.
After being stifled on fourth down on its opening drive, Penn State conceded a field goal to the Tigers a minute before the halfway mark of the opening quarter.
Quarterback Sean Clifford used his legs to find the scoreboard for the first time in the contest for the Nittany Lions. The sixth-year senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, powered it in from seven yards out to get the blue and white up, 7-3.
As the first quarter expired, Auburn quarterback T.J. Finley received pressure and threw his fourth interception of the season. Zakee Wheatley got the first takeaway for the Penn State defense in what was a dominant afternoon.
Anders Carlson added his second field goal of the day to cut the deficit to a single point seven minutes into the second.
Kaytron Allen found paydirt from three yards out to extend the Nittany Lion lead, 14-6. The freshman from Norfolk, Virginia, earned his first touchdown in his third game as a member of the blue and white.
That score stuck heading into the locker room. Auburn outgained Penn State in the first half. The Tigers racked up 212 yards compared to 182 yards for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State put together an impressive drive to kickstart the second half. Rookie back Nicholas Singleton capped off a three-play, 58-yard drive to get ahead 21-6. Singleton provided all of the yards on the drive for the offense.
Jake Pinegar added a 48-yard field goal to extend the advantage. Allen got into the endzone once more from the Auburn six to continue the strong outing for the blue and white.
Safety Ji’Ayir Brown ripped the ball away from Finley in the pocket, and Maryland transfer Chop Robinson dove on top of the loose ball.
Auburn opened the final frame with a touchdown to push the score to 31-12. The Tigers were unsuccessful on the two-point conversion attempt.
Singleton busted a 54-yard touchdown run on the following drive for the Nittany Lions.
The Tigers had no answer for the Nittany Lions as the visitors capped off the impressive victory to move to 3-0. The loss sends Auburn to 2-1 in 2022.
Clifford finished the day 14-19 for 178 yards. Singleton led the way on the ground with 10 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
A big storyline all week for the blue and white was to be more disruptive on the defensive side of the ball. Tackles for loss, sacks and takeaways were on the minds of the entire coaching staff.
The Penn State defense had a field day. The Nittany Lions recorded six quarterback sacks and three takeaways in the contest.
Evan Popalis is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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