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Penn State came from behind to beat Purdue 35-31 with a spectacular late TD drive

Following a horrific mistake, the highly infamous Shaun Clifford led Penn State on a winning drive, giving the Nittany Lions a thrilling 35-31 road victory over Purdue on Thursday night.

Early in the fourth, Penn State seemed completely in control. Nittany his Lions lead 28-for-24 and had the ball near midfield when his quarterback Clifford, his senior in his sixth year at PSU, threw the worst pass of the night .

Clifford had Mitchell Tinsley open down the middle, but Clifford airmailed it into the arms of Purdue’s Chris Jefferson, who returned an errant pass 72 yards for a touchdown with 8:29 remaining. led the Boilermakers 31-28.

A shell-shocked Clifford struggled hard on the next two possessions, but the PSU defense stopped and gave the offense one last shot with 2:22 remaining.

Out of nowhere, Clifford has taken a big step up.

Clifford led an 8-play, 80-yard drive that came just 57 seconds off the clock. In the process, Clifford completed his 6-for-7 pass for his 72 yards. This included his 10-yard touchdown victory over Keebon his Lee with 57 seconds remaining.

The Purdue offense attempted one final try but was unable to get past midfield as the Penn State defense pulled off a thrilling season-opening win.

It was a surprising turn of events for Clifford and the Nittany Lions to be inconsistent in their attacks all night. However, PSU played a key role and escaped West Lafayette with a courageous victory.

The game featured seven lead changes

The lead changed six more times before Penn State’s spectacular winning drive.

Purdue led 10–7 late in the first half before Penn State scored twice in the final two minutes of the second quarter. First, Clifford Nittany gave the Lions his 14–10 lead with a two-yard sneak.

On the ensuing possession, Purdue drove the ball deep into PSU territory before fumbling in the red zone with 30 seconds remaining.

After three plays, Clifford made a big play. He escaped his pocket right to find tight end Brenton Strange. Strange bounced off multiple Purdue tacklers and kicked off a 67-yard touchdown, giving PSU a 21–10 lead just two seconds before the half.

But Q3 was all Purdue.

Aidan O’Connell and the Purdue offense were able to pull off the Penn State defense, with Iowa transfer Charlie Jones doing most of the damage at receiver. Jones caught his 12 passes for 153 yards in his Purdue debut.

That Jones score capped off a 10-play, 81-yard drive for the Boilermakers with their second touchdown drive of 75+ yards in the third quarter, turning a 21-10 deficit into a 24-21 lead. rice field.

Clifford nearly lost the game with a terrible INT

After a lackluster third quarter, the PSU defense forced two purdue three-and-outs, with the offense scoring a touchdown in between to start the fourth quarter. Clifford hit Key Andre Lambert-Smith for a 29-yard catch-and-run touchdown to put PSU ahead 28–24 with 10:44 left to play.

On the next possession, Penn State looked poised to take full control of the game — Clifford made that big mistake, and then jumped over Tinsley’s open head and into Jefferson’s arms. until you have sailed the path

That pick 6 seemed to doom the Nittany Lions, but the Purdue offense didn’t run out of time. Satisfied with the pass, the Boilermakers kept throwing the ball and scoring valuable minutes.

Eventually, the PSU defense left the field, setting the table for Clifford and the PSU offense to win the game in an unlikely way.

What does this mean for Penn State University?

This was a big win for James Franklin’s program after the last two seasons.

PSU went 11-11 in 2020 and 2021 combined, ending the 2021 campaign 7-6 after losing 8-6. The Nittany Lions found a way to win in this tumultuous environment, even though it was often a close match. Clifford has been particularly criticized throughout his career, but showed tremendous composure in that game-winning drive.

Penn State looked like a really good team when Clifford was healthy last fall. This year, PSU applauded freshman Drew Aller for folding, and he made his debut when Clifford started the third quarter in the locker room with an unspecified injury.

Clifford can frustrate the PSU fanbase, and his brutal interception-like play is a clear example of why many fans want Allah and one of the other young QBs on the roster. . At the same time, Franklin and staff can see why Clifford was happy to be back for another year in a two-minute drill drive.

This is the impetus to move forward with another tough road game (a trip to Auburn) before conference play resumes.

Penn State quarterback Shaun Clifford, 14, capped off his team's winning drive with a 10-yard TD pass in the final minute against Purdue.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Penn State quarterback Shaun Clifford, 14, capped off his team’s winning drive with a 10-yard TD pass in the final minute against Purdue. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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