Penn State Blows The Doors Off Maryland 38-14 On Homecoming
James Franklin’s Nittany Lions welcomed Maryland to Beaver Stadium Saturday for another rainy afternoon of Big Ten football. Penn State (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) put on a show for Homecoming with an easy 38-14 win over first-year head coach D.J. Durkin’s Terrapins (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten).
How It Happened
The Terps won the coin toss and elected to defer their choice to the second half. The move worked in Penn State’s favor, as Trace McSorley led the offense on a quick seven-play, 84-yard drive to put the game’s first points on the board. McSorley hit Mike Gesicki on a five-yard toss and the big tight end reached over the goal line for his second touchdown of the season and a 7-0 lead. Saquon Barkley was outstanding on the opening drive as well, picking up 41 yards with ease.
Following a four-and-out on its first series, Maryland made some adjustments and answered the bell. Redshirt senior quarterback Perry Hills would hit Ty Johnson on a pitch and catch for a 66-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 7:13 to go in the first quarter. Linebacker Brandon Smith’s first career interception spurred a lengthy Penn State drive into the second quarter that saw it settle for a 30-yard field goal from Tyler Davis to make it 10-7. McSorley was electric when calling his own number in the first half. The redshirt sophomore racked up 95 yards on 12 carries, including a nine-yard touchdown run to give the Nitany Lions a 17-7 cushion with 6:06 before the break.
The Terps got the jolt they needed on a Blake Gillikin punt block, but no less than one play later, linebacker Koa Farmer would jar the ball loose from Hills for a huge fumble and Torrence Brown recovery. Maryland would respond on its next drive thanks to some excellent starting field position from the Nittany Lion 37-yard line. Backup signal caller Tyrrell Pigrome took over for a banged up Hills and ran it in for a touchdown on his first play to cut Penn State’s lead to 17-14. Penn State had no intentions of taking a knee, though, as Barkley burst up the middle for a 45-yard score to make it 24-14 with :15 seconds left on the clock. The Coplay, Pa., native finished with an unreal 148 rushing yards on 19 carries in the first half.
Maryland linebacker Isaiah Davis went after Joey Julius on the ensuing kickoff with a second consecutive cheap shot in as many weeks. He would be ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct, just like Minnesota’s Jaylen Waters. Penn State forced a punt and promptly made its way deep into Terrapin territory, where we were treated to another jaw-dropping hurdle from Barkley. He would take a big hit and put the ball on the turf a few plays later, though. Maryland took over at its own 11-yard line, but after a decent drive, it couldn’t convert on fourth and two from the Penn State 44.
The Nittany Lion offense was held in check and forced to punt after only five plays, but junior Daniel Pasquariello interestingly came on to boot it away rather than Gillikin. Penn State’s defense was up to the challenge once more, stopping the Terrapins after only four plays. On the second play from scrimmage, McSorley found a streaking DeAndre Thompkins for a huge 70-yard touchdown as time expired in the third quarter to stretch Penn State’s lead to 31-14. The Nittany Lions continued to pile it on offensively, as true freshman Miles Sanders scampered around the right corner for a 25-yard touchdown — the first of his career — to make it 38-14 with 5:15 to go.
The rest of the way would be all formalities, as redshirt freshman Tommy Stevens came in at quarterback and ran out the clock with some nifty read options of his own. On top of his big interception, Brandon Smith would lead all players with a career-high 14 tackles in a second-half shutout. Penn State put up a ridiculous 524 yards of total offense, while limiting the Terps to 270.
Player(s) Of The Game
Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley
How could we not give the nod to both of these guys? Barkley set a new career-high with 202 rushing yards on 31 carries (6.5 average), while McSorley accounted for three touchdowns and 233 yards of total offense with no turnovers.
The Nittany Lions will head into their lone bye week of the season before returning to Beaver Stadium against No. 2 Ohio State at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.