The Penn State Nittany Lions scored on their first possession and never looked back as they cruised to a 38-14 victory over the undefeated Maryland Terrapins Saturday afternoon. Here are the game’s “Cheers and jeers.”
Dynamic duo of McSorley and Barkley— Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley got the rushing game going early on as the duo combined for 221 yards in the first half alone and 435 total yards. Coming into the game, the Nittany Lions were averaging 108 yards per game on the ground. McSorley found the end zone with his legs and arm as the quarterback had a rushing touchdown in addition to two touchdowns through the air. Barkley ran all over the defense of the Terrapins with 202 yards — and a touchdown.
Penn State’s high-octane offense— The offense of the Nittany Lions EXPLODED against the undefeated Terrapins. After marching 84-yards on the opening drive, Penn State’s offense went wild for 524 yards and 38 points. Led by the dynamic duo of McSorley and Barkley, the offense put together its best performance to date.
Defense comes up big— From the onset, Penn State’s defense dominated the game. The Nittany Lions gave up a measly 84 yards on the ground in the first half against a Maryland rushing attack that averages 300 yards per game. A 66-yard screen play from the Terrapins for a touchdown gave them the majority of their total yards, but Penn State held Maryland to 270 total yards (170 of which came on the ground). Koa Farmer gave the Nittany Lions a key takeaway with a forced fumble on a sack of quarterback Perry Hills in the second quarter.
Nittany Lions still struggle with tackling— While the defense was mighty impressive throughout the game, its inability to tackle was still evident. The Nittany Lions have struggled in the tackling department all season, and the lack of quality tackling helped give Maryland its two touchdowns.
Still not putting teams away— On the stat sheet, Penn State dominated from start to finish. However, the Nittany Lions struggled to put Maryland away. A Barkley fumble in the 3rd quarter in the red zone gave the Terrapins a brief bit of momentum, but Penn State’s defense didn’t allow any points on the ensuing drive. Penn State just let the Terrapins linger until the end of the third quarter.
Highlight of the Game
ANOTHER SAQUON BARKLEY HURDLE SIGHTING. @PennStateFball
— Penn State On BTN (@PennStateOnBTN) October 8, 2016
The highlight of the game comes from human highlight reel Saquon Barkley. Every time Barkley touches the football, there’s a possibility for the spectacular. The sophomore running back also seems to like hurdling opponents.
In two weeks, Penn State returns to prime time as the Nittany Lions welcome Ohio State to Beaver Stadium for an 8:00 PM EDT game airing on ESPN. Next week, Penn State will enjoy the comforts of the bye week as the team takes the weekend off to rest up for the tilt against the Buckeyes. Ohio State will be coming off a game against Wisconsin after facing-off against Indiana this week.
Image credit: Gene J. Puskar/AP