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Penn State vs. Purdue score, points: Shawn Clifford throws the winning TD to beat pick 6

Penn State defeated Purdue 35-31 in Thursday’s thrilling season opener, which saw seven lead changes and Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford experienced an entire career’s worth of emotions in one night . Penn State looked to dominate the game early on, as Clifford found Brenton Strange for a 67-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left in halftime to give the Nittany Lions a 21–10 lead. It was a short-lived lead in the second half.

The Boilermakers dominated the third quarter, compiling two touchdown drives and holding Penn State to 33 yards of offense for a 24–21 lead. Penn State regained the lead early in the fourth quarter when Clifford found Key Andre Lambert-Smith on a 29-yard touchdown pass, but the game was far from over.

Two minutes later, after Purdue were three-and-out. Clifford sailed the pass well over the head of target Mitchell Tinsley and into the eager arms of Purdue’s Chris Jefferson. returned the lead to The night at Penn State seemed to be over. Nittany his Lions were forced to punt as he gained only 14 yards on his next two possessions, but the boilermakers were unable to put the final nail in the coffin and it was costly. rice field.

Penn State got the ball again with 2:22 remaining, and the Nittany Lions put together an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive with 1:25 left, Clifford throwing his fourth touchdown of the night. KeyVone Lee scoring from 12 yards out.

1. Sean Clifford is a gamer

Clifford has been banged for nearly the entire 2021 season and feels like he’s been dealing with some type of injury his entire career. He started the game with a brace on his left knee and tried to aggravate his injury when he took a hit in the second quarter. Clifford remained and threw a 67-yard touchdown to Strange to end the half, but did not field for Penn State’s first possession of the second half.

He came out of the locker room with the team, but was seen back in the locker room as Purdue started the half with the ball. participated in the series. After the game, James Franklin said Clifford was dealing with a cramp. When interviewed by Fox’s Jenny Taft, Clifford said he was dealing with “minor injuries and tweaks”. I thought it would cost the Penn State game.

I even wondered if Nittany Lions would be better off going back to Allah because Clifford seemed so immobile.

In the end it didn’t matter. As he’s done so many times before, Clifford hit it off and helped lead his team to a comeback win. His four touchdown passes tied his career high.

2. People will question Purdue’s late play calls

Purdue took Chris Jefferson’s pick 6 to a 31-28 lead with 8:29 left. The Boilermakers had two more possessions and a chance to record time, but in 11 plays he tallied 26 yards and, more importantly, his time off was just 3:43. The Boilermakers called 13 pass plays into one rush (two were called back on penalties), allowing Penn State to save timeouts.

Clearly, Purdue’s coach, Jeff Blom, would be reluctant, and I can understand why. That said, I can understand Blohm’s train of thought. Purdue’s rushing his offense was the worst in the country last season, averaging his 2.79 yards per carry. Against Penn State, he improved to 4.1 per carry (excluding sacks). Brohm probably believed that running the ball would consume more clock, but lead to three-and-outs. I chose to It didn’t work out so he has to accept the outcome, which I completely disagreed with, but he didn’t hate the decision.

3. Penn State wins, but there are still serious concerns

A win is a win, and Penn State won’t give it back, but I’m not too thrilled. For starters, Penn State’s offensive line hasn’t played so well in what feels like 50 years in a row. The Nittany Lions spread the ball in the running game, averaging only 3.4 yards per carry (not including sacks), and no one on the team averaged more than 3.9 yards per carry.

On the defensive side of the ball, the game ended on a sack, and Penn State picked up two on the night, but struggled to generate pressure all night. When they did, it was the result of new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz bringing in a blitzkrieg.

Arnold Ebiquiti had 9.5 sacks to lead this defense last season, but there were questions about who would succeed him this season. One game leaves that question unanswered. The good news is Penn State still has a great secondary.

4. Charlie Jones has already paid off at Purdue

Iowa fans could be heard taunting all night as the Iowa transfer made a great debut for the Boilermakers. He finished with 12 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown. Jones only allowed him to catch 21 passes for 323 yards throughout his last season with the Hawkeyes.

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