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HomeSportsPenn State vs. Purdue score, takeaways: Sean Clifford throws game-winning TD after...

Penn State vs. Purdue score, takeaways: Sean Clifford throws game-winning TD after back-breaking pick six

Penn State beat Purdue 35-31 in an exhilarating season-opener Thursday that noticed seven lead adjustments and Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford undergo a complete profession’s value of emotion in a single night time. It appeared as if Penn State would take management of the sport early, as Clifford discovered Brenton Unusual for a 67-yard landing cross with two seconds left earlier than halftime to provide the Nittany Lions a 21-10 lead. It was a lead that did not  final lengthy as soon as the second half started.

The Boilermakers dominated the third quarter, placing collectively two landing drives and holding Penn State to 33 yards of offense to storm to a 24-21 lead. Penn State took the lead again early within the fourth quarter when Clifford discovered KeAndre Lambert-Smith for a 29-yard landing cross, however the recreation was removed from over.

Two minutes later, after Purdue went three-and-out. Clifford sailed a cross effectively over goal Mitchell Tinsley’s head and into the keen arms of Purdue’s Chris Jefferson. Jefferson took the ball 72 yards to the home to provide Purdue the lead again, and it appeared as if Penn State’s night time was accomplished. The Nittany Lions managed solely 14 yards on their subsequent two possessions and had been compelled to punt, however the Boilermakers couldn’t put the ultimate nail within the coffin, which value them.

Penn State received the ball yet another time with 2:22 left to play, and the Nittany Lions put collectively an eight-play, 80-yard landing drive in 1:25, with Clifford throwing his fourth landing of the night time, this time to KeyVone Lee, who scored from 12 yards out. 

1. Sean Clifford is a gamer

Clifford was banged up practically your entire 2021 season, and it looks like he is been coping with some sort of harm his complete profession. He started the sport with a brace on his left knee and appeared to irritate the harm when taking successful within the second quarter. Clifford stayed in and completed the half, throwing the 67-yard landing to Unusual, however he didn’t take the sector for Penn State’s opening possession of the second half.

He got here out of the locker room with the staff however was seen returning to it when Purdue opened the half with the ball. 5-star freshman Drew Allar crammed in for a collection earlier than Clifford returned. After the sport, James Franklin stated Clifford was coping with cramps. When interviewed by Fox’s Jenny Taft, Clifford stated he was coping with “minor accidents and tweaks.” Regardless of the case, Clifford didn’t have a look at full energy for many of the second half, and I assumed it might value Penn State the sport.

I even questioned if the Nittany Lions could be higher off going again to Allar, as Clifford appeared to lack mobility, and the actual fact so lots of his throws had been excessive had me questioning if he wasn’t planting on that left leg.

In the long run, it did not matter. As he is accomplished many instances earlier than, Clifford gutted it out and helped lead his staff to a comeback win. His 4 landing passes tied a career-high.

2. Persons are going to query Purdue’s late play-calling 

Purdue took a 31-28 lead on Chris Jefferson’s decide six with 8:29 left within the recreation. The Boilermakers had two extra possessions and possibilities to burn the clock, however ran 11 performs for 26 yards and, extra importantly, solely 3:43 off the clock. The Boilermakers referred to as 13 passing performs to just one rush (two had been referred to as again on penalties), and the incompletions allowed Penn State to preserve timeouts.

Clearly, Purdue coach Jeff Brohm can be second-guessed, and I perceive why. That stated, I additionally perceive Brohm’s thought course of. Purdue’s speeding assault averaged a nation’s worst 2.79 yards per carry final season. In opposition to Penn State it improved to 4.1 per carry (not together with sacks). Brohm most likely believed operating the ball would burn extra clock however result in three-and-outs. He selected to be aggressive and lean on what his staff does finest: throw the ball. It did not work, so he’ll need to reside with the results, however I did not hate the choice, even when I did not totally agree.

3. Penn State received the win, however there are nonetheless severe issues

Wins are wins, and Penn State will not give them again, however I would not get too excited. To begin with, Penn State’s offensive line didn’t play effectively for what feels just like the fiftieth consecutive 12 months. The Nittany Lions unfold the ball round within the operating recreation however averaged solely 3.4 yards per carry (not together with sacks), and no one on the staff averaged greater than 3.9 yards per carry.

On the defensive facet of the ball, the sport ended on a sack, and Penn State picked up two on the night, however they struggled to generate strain all night time. Once they did, it resulted from new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz bringing a blitz.

Arnold Ebikitie had 9.5 sacks to steer this protection final season, however there have been questions on who would step as much as fill his sneakers this season. One recreation in, that query hasn’t been answered. The excellent news is Penn State nonetheless has a wonderful secondary, however secondaries can solely achieve this a lot if the entrance 4 aren’t producing strain on their very own.

4. Charlie Jones has already paid off for Purdue

Iowa followers may very well be heard cursing all night time because the Iowa switch had a incredible debut for the Boilermakers. He completed with 12 catches for 153 yards and a landing. Jones caught solely 21 passes for 323 yards all of final season with the Hawkeyes.

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