Game Grades: Penn State vs. Auburn

Story posted September 19, 2021 in

No. 10 Penn State defeated No. 22 Auburn 28-20 under an electric atmosphere in the annual White Out game.

The result moves the Nittany Lions to 3-0 as they continue their hot start to the season. Some things went well for Penn State while some did not, so let’s take a look.

Offense: B-

Penn State’s offense did just enough to beat Auburn.

Sean Clifford performed well despite throwing his first interception of the season before half time. Clifford showed his ability to run with the ball and make good throws during the game. Jahan Dotson and the wide receivers, however, were amazing, posting 302 yards, exposing Auburn’s secondary.

Despite the solid number of receiving yards, Penn State’s rushing game is something that needs to be worked on if it is to continue this pace against other good teams. Only 84 yards on the ground the entire game will not work on a consistent basis this season.

Defense: B+

Brent Pry’s defense played well. With the help of the roaring Beaver Stadium crowd, the defense made some crucial stops late in the game.

Similarly to the Wisconsin game, Penn State had to deal with a very good Auburn running game, as Tank Bigsby scored both of Auburn’s touchdowns and consistently helped the Tigers convert on third down. The defensive line has room for improvement, as tough matchups ahead will surely have as good of a running game as Auburn, if not better. The defensive line barely pressured Nix the entire game and did not even sack him once.

Penn State’s secondary, however, was pretty good. It almost had an interception and the scoop and score that got called back was a questionable call.

The defense deserves credit for staying in the game and not breaking despite bending against a very tough Auburn offense.

Coaching: A

Coaching against an SEC team, let alone one of the better teams in the country is a tall task. This was a high leverage situation the entire game, and there were many opportunities for things to go very badly.

Penn State is very fortunate to have James Franklin, Brent Pry and Mike Yurcich. If it did not, it may not have won last night.

What ultimately matters most is that the Penn State Nittany Lions got another win. Penn State proved it can go toe to toe and beat a team from the best college football conference in America, which is a big deal.


Nolan Wick is a first-year majoring in Journalism. To contact him, email