Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley led No. 5 Penn State to an emphatic 56-0 rout of Georgia State Saturday night at Beaver Stadium.
Eight different players scored touchdowns against the Panthers, and Brent Pry’s defense forced five turnovers and seven punts in the shutout.
How It Happened
Georgia State won the coin toss and elected to defer, bringing Barkley on to return the opening kickoff. Following an impressive 37-yard return, the Nittany Lions marched down the field for the first points of the ballgame — a 10-yard touchdown pass from McSorley to backup quarterback Tommy Stevens.
Barkley drew a collective gasp from the crowd on his 85-yard catch and run the next drive, making a handful of Panthers look silly as he burst up the left sideline for the longest touchdown pass ever in a Penn State home game. Joe Moorhead’s offense dialed up another quick, three-play strike to give the Nittany Lions a 21-0 lead, as McSorley hit DaeSean Hamilton in open space and he soared airborne over the right pylon.
Penn State brought Blake Gillikin on to punt for the second time midway through the second quarter, but Haley would take the ball right back. The senior corner’s fifth career interception set the table for a 29-yard Miles Sanders touchdown run. Allen notched his first pick moments later and returned it 50 yards before McSorley used his legs to make it 35-0. Tyler Davis’ 39-yard field goal attempt with 0:40 left sailed wide left, though.
The Nittany Lions cashed in back-to-back Georgia State turnovers coming out of the locker room. First, Shaka Toney and Manny Bowen knocked the ball loose for a Kevin Givens fumble recovery. Brandon Polk went across the middle for his first touchdown of the season — a 15-yard dart from McSorley.
On a milestone night across the board, Tariq Castro-Fields secured his first collegiate interception. After making his second catch of the night, Stevens took over at quarterback for the Nittany Lions. He tossed his first career touchdown to Saeed Blacknall to stretch Penn State’s enormous lead to 49-0 with 6:01 left in the third quarter.
Backup defensive end Daniel Joseph caused another fumble and Yetur Gross-Matos fell on the football for Penn State’s fifth forced turnover of the night. Andre Robinson made it 56-0 Nittany Lions four plays later on a 41-yard rumble around the right edge.
Georgia State kicker Brandon Wright missed a 31-yarder to the right to close things out. Unfortunately, starting defensive end Torrence Brown was carted off the field with a injury during the game. His status for next week is up in the air.
Player Of The Game
Trace McSorley | Redshirt junior | Quaterback
The Ashburn, Va., native finished with 333 total yards and five touchdowns.
Penn State (3-0) travels to Iowa City for its second straight night game and the Big Ten opener against the Hawkeyes next Saturday.