This is one of those games where the summary could be 1,000 words or 100 words and the takeaway would be the same: Penn State survived. As ugly as it may be, regardless of the concerns ahead, the important thing is for the Nittany Lions to leave Purdue 1-0.
Penn State’s attack got off to a slow start, only a three-and-out on the first disc and the ball cleared again on the second disc. Meanwhile, the defense of the Nittany Lions was a mixed bag, forcing the Boilermakers to kick on their first drive but conceded a field goal on the second as the first quarter drew to a close.
However, the Nittany Lions pulled it off in the second quarter, beating the Boilermakers 21-7. The biggest swing came during the waning moments of the second quarter, with Zakee Wheatley forcing a fumble and Brenton Strange scoring on a broken 67-yard play with just two seconds left in the half to take Penn State at 21-10. and enter the match. half.
The second half – not so great! Purdue scored quickly on their opening stage, removing all doubt that this would be an easy Penn State win. To make matters worse, the Nittany Lions had to start the half without Sean Clifford. Instead, real freshman Drew Allar took the field. Though Penn State’s offense sputtered on the ride, Allar looked comfortable and a Tyler Warren drop from potentially lead the Nittany Lions to a scoring ride.
The rest of the way was a back-and-forth affair, with Penn State and Purdue swapping the lead seven times throughout the game. The darkest moment? With Penn State leading 28-24 with 8:29 to go, Cliffored missed a wide open Mitchell Tinsley and instead hit Purdue safety Chris Jefferson. Jefferson eventually got the much-wanted pass back for a touchdown—then vomited—to give the Boiler makers a 31-24 lead.
If you looked at Penn State Twitter, all hope was lost. But Sean Clifford, folks, stepped up. With 2:22 to go, the Nittany Lions got the ball back thanks to some great defensive plays, and Clifford did what he had to do. He was 6-of-7 on the final drive, eventually finding Keyvone Lee for a touchdown to put Penn State at 35-31—a lead the defense wouldn’t give up. Sacks of Johnny Dixon and Chop Robinson on the final drive secured Penn State victory as the Nittany Lions went 1-0.
As mentioned above, a lot more can be said about this game. The attack didn’t look great. The defense didn’t look great. Clearly, a lot of work needs to be done over the next month if Penn State is to compete in the Big Ten. But just like last year, the Nittany Lions found a way to take a bold win in a tough Big Ten environment. Enjoy it over a long season—and especially this weekend—Penn State fans.