Game Grades: Purdue
Twelth-ranked Penn State (5-0, 2-0) started out fast and was too much for the Purdue Boilermakers (1-4, 0-2), coasting to a 35-7 victory on a homecoming Saturday in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions scored 21 points in the first quarter and never looked back in their second straight blowout victory. Here are some grades from Saturday’s game:
They started out fast and never looked back, scoring 21 of their 35 points in the first quarter. Sean Clifford had another good day throwing for 229 yards, three touchdowns and rushing for another touchdown. KJ Hamler was his usual explosive self, and Jahan Dotson had the biggest play of the game with a 72-yard touchdown.
Clifford also showed great chemistry with his two tight ends, Pat Friermuth and Nick Bowers, who were both factors in the passing game. Noah Cain stood out among the four running backs with 105 yards and a touchdown on a day when the Nittany Lions rushed for 196 yards. The only thing that kept this from being an 'A' grade was the period in the second and third quarters where the offense went quiet a bit.
James Franklin said after the game that the Nittany Lions are playing “championship level defense” and he is completely right. Purdue only had 104 total yards and minus-19 rushing yards. The Nittany Lions had 10 sacks, which was one short of the program record. Shaka Toney and Yetur Gross-Matos combined for five sacks in a dominant day by the defensive line.
The linebackers led by Micah Parsons also had a dominant day doing whatever they wanted against Purdue’s offense. The star of this game, however, was Lamont Wade. The former five-star recruit led Penn State with 11 tackles and a sack from the safety position. Penn State fans have waited since he got on campus to be a factor, this year he has been a major part of the defense.
Special Teams: C+
It was an inconsistent day for special teams. Blake Gillikin had a solid day punting for Penn State, twice pinning Purdue deep in their own territory. Jake Pinegar missed his first field goal of the season, a 35-yard attempt that drew some groans from the crowd.
Jordan Stout had his usual day kicking touchbacks, minus the squib-kick experiment to start the game which Purdue got off a pretty decent return. Penn State also continues to not get too much of a return game going, though KJ Hamler showed some flashes. It wasn’t a horrible day for special teams, but not one that will stick out either.
This is a game that Penn State easily could’ve looked over with the part of the schedule that looms ahead, combined with the high of the 59-0 victory last week. That was not the case as the Nittany Lions looked completely focused on Purdue and only Purdue at the start of this game.
James Franklin preaches to be 1-0 every week, so far this season this team has taken on that mantra more seriously than in years past. The toughest part of the schedule is coming up, if the coaching staff keeps preparing like the past two weeks, they will be just fine.
Kevin McConlogue is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in political science. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism