Penn State Football Rolls Through Pitt 51-6 At Heinz Field
The Nittany Lions came off of their shaky week-one performance against App State hoping to make a statement in Pittsburgh, and they did just that. Penn State (2-0) dismantled the Pitt Panthers (1-1) at Heinz Field 51-6 on a rainy Saturday night.
After a slow start, Penn State’s offense and defense really got going in the second half behind a flurry of impressive drives led by Trace McSorley. On defense, the line made its presence known with an inordinate number of sacks. All in all, the Nittany Lions got back to their dominant ways in a statement win.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions started the night off with an impressive defensive drive. Pitt was forced to punt after a third down pass from Pickett slipped through Oruwariye’s hands.
The offense clicked immediately, as McSorley found tight end Jonathan Holland down field for 22 yards. Two plays later, KJ Hamler took an end-around 32 yards into the end zone.
The Panthers responded well, driving 75 yards on ten plays to score a touchdown. The Penn State defense couldn’t come through on a couple of third down situations, but a dropped PAT attempt kept the Nittany Lions ahead at 7-6. Penn State would carry its 7-6 into the first intermission.
Play slowed down in the second quarter, as some sloppy play on both sides prevented any scoring for most of the period. With about a minute to play in the half, McSorley led the Nittany Lions three plays for 35 yards in 33 seconds, capping it off with a touchdown to a wide open KJ Hamler.
McSorley entered the half 7-11 for 82 yards and a touchdown, while Miles Sanders contributed heavily on the ground with eight rushes for 74 yards.
Penn State opened the second half strong. After forcing a three-and-out, the Nittany Lions marched down the field. Despite big drops from great passes from McSorley, the offense was able to go 40 yards in eight plays after McSorley rushed one in for his first rushing touchdown of the night.
Kevin Givens was responsible for Penn State’s next score. Yes, you read that right; Givens pressured Kenny Pickett deep into his own end zone and was held by a lineman, drawing a flag that led to an automatic safety call. At this point, James Franklin’s squad was up 23-6.
Before the third quarter could end, DeAndre Thompkins returned a punt 39 yards for a touchdown to give Penn State a 30-6 lead.
Trace McSorley kicked off the scoring in the fourth quarter, breaking out with 20 and 19-yard runs before floating a beauty to Mac Hippenhammer for an 11-yard touchdown. The Nittany Lions took a 37-6 lead with 11:40 remaining in the game.
It started to get ugly in the fourth quarter after Mark Allen punched in a four-yard touchdown to give the Nittany Lions a 44-6 lead. Sean Clifford would even throw a 34-yard beauty to Brandon Polk on his first career pass attempt to make it 51-6 with 4:21 remaining in the game.
The Nittany Lions would ride out that lead and walk away from Pittsburgh victorious.
Player of the Game
KJ Hamler | Freshman | Wide Receiver
KJ Hamler put on another astounding performance on Saturday night. Hamler opened up the scoring with a 32-yard touchdown run, before snatching a touchdown catch before the half ended.
The youngster also played an important part in the return game, taking three returns for 73 total yards.
Penn State will play host to Kent State on Saturday, September 15 at 12 p.m. You can catch the game on FS1.
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About the Author
Clifford will take the job left vacant by Trace McSorley, who went 31-9 as the Nittany Lions’ QB1 in three seasons at the helm of the team’s offense.
2019 seems to break a trend for Penn State football, which usually named just three captains per season (one on offense, defense, and special teams).
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