Jahan Dotson career day lifts Penn State to 31-14 victory over Maryland
The Penn State Nittany Lions emerged victorious with a 31-14 win on the road against Big-Ten rival Maryland Terrapins.
Penn State’s first possession was dominated by the Terrapin defense. A loss of 7 yards on second down forced Nittany Lions' quarterback Sean Clifford to throw to the outstretched arm of wide receiver Parker Washington to no avail.
Maryland completed three passes for 27 yards on its initial possession, but an intentional grounding call on Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa facing pressure from the Nittany Lions defense squashed hope to move the chains.
The Blue and White found a rhythm at the tail end of the first quarter with a 30-yard bomb from Clifford to wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith. The offense capitalized on its field position, finding wide receiver Jahan Dotson in the backfield for a 38-yard touchdown. Penn State took the lead on a scoring drive taking four plays in one minute and 33 seconds.
Terrapins defensive lineman Greg Rose took Clifford down for a sack early in the drive, but Penn State’s offense bounced back with a first down conversion up the middle to Dotson.
A missed Maryland tackle allowed a third down conversion by Washington, but an offensive miscommunication between Clifford and his receiving core squandered a scoring opportunity for the Nittany Lions before the half.
The Terrapins executed quick snaps to trudge downfield on the edge of halftime. A pass interference call on Penn State junior safety Keaton Ellis set up Maryland running back Challen Faamatau for a 2-yard rushing touchdown and chance to tie the game at 7 a piece.
Maryland kicker Joseph Petrino could not deliver the extra point and sent the Terrapins into the locker room facing a one-point deficit against the Blue and White.
The Terrapins favored the run game at the start of the third quarter. On the scramble, Tagovailoa endured a controversial late hit on Penn State’s sideline by a stationary offensive lineman Rasheed Walker. Tagovailoa, shaken from the hit, came off the field for one play.
Penn State opened up the field with a 15-yard carry up the right side by running back Keyvone Lee. The gain marked the first run of double-digit yards in the game. Senior defensive line and Maryland captain Ami Finau was injured on the play.
The Nittany Lions flexed its offensive muscles with a 21-yard sailing pass to a waiting Dotson in midair. The 14-play, 95-yard drive tied Penn State’s longest drive of the season.
Maryland burned up turf into Penn State territory and looked eager to respond. A high snap sailed over Tagovailoa for a fumble recovery by Nittany Lion safety Ji’Ayir Brown. However, Penn State’s offense did not capitalize.
On a decision to go for a 4th-and-3 on Penn State’s 22-yard line, Maryland converted on downs and burst out of its shell with a 13-yard touchdown laser pass to tight end Corey Dyches. Tagovailoa completed a successful 2-point conversion to tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo to knot up the game at 14.
The Nittany Lions growled back with Dotson exploding downfield for an 86-yard touchdown and handing the lead back to Penn State 21-14. The touchdown marked a Penn State season record for the longest play.
Terrapins defensive lineman and sack leader Sam Okuayinonu came off the field with an injury late in the fourth quarter.
A 45-yard completion to Dotson crossed Penn State into Terrapin territory. Three incomplete passes opted for a 24-yard field goal to extend the Nittany Lions’ lead to 10 over Maryland.
The Terrapins’ offense faced pressure from Penn State’s secondary. A holding penalty on cornerback Joey Porter Jr. retracted an interception by fellow Nittany Lion Jaquan Brisker. Porter Jr. received a pass interference call in the same drive to inch Maryland closer to the end zone.
However, the victory was sealed for Penn State with Brown intercepting Tagovailoa for an 87-yard pick six.
The Nittany Lions clawed their way to a 31-14 victory over Terrapins. Dotson’s accumulated 242 yards on the night set a new Penn State school record. Penn State moves to 6-3 on the season and is now bowl eligible. Up next is a date with Michigan at Beaver Stadium next Saturday.
Emma Holtz is a second-year majoring in public relations. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.