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Penn State Embarrassed By Maryland In 35-19 Loss

Penn State football (0-3) lost its third straight game to open the season against Maryland (2-1) 35-19 Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions were outplayed from the very beginning, giving up a long touchdown on the opening drive of the game. It all went down hill from there, as the Terrapins ran away with this one and never looked back.

James Franklin’s squad didn’t appear ready to play, and now falls to 0-3 for the first time during his tenure at Penn State.

How It Happened

Maryland won the toss and elected to receive, putting Brent Pry’s defense out there to start the game for Penn State. The Terrapins quickly found the end zone, as Taulia Tagovailoa connected with Rakim Jarrett for a 42-yard touchdown to put Maryland up 7-0 early on.

Kirk Ciarrocca’s answered by driving down the field into the red zone. However, on a fourth down play deep in Maryland territory, Clifford was unable to connect with Parker Washington, resulting in a turnover on downs.

After each team traded punts, the Terps broke off another big play. Tagovailoa found Jarrett again for a 62-yard touchdown to extend Maryland’s lead to 14-0 with 19 seconds left in the first quarter.

On Penn State’s next offensive drive, Clifford’s early-game struggles continued, as he missed an open Pat Freiermuth that would’ve resulted in a big gain. Jordan Stout once again came on to punt for the Nittany Lions.

Maryland’s offense continued its dominant performance, as Jake Funk broke free for a 38-yard touchdown to put the Terps up 21-0 with 11:49 left in the first half.

The Nittany Lions finally got on the board on their next offensive drive. After a few third-down conversions, Clifford found Jahan Dotson for a 20-yard touchdown to cut Maryland’s lead to 21-7.

Penn State starting building some momentum, as the defense forced the Terps to punt the ball away on the next drive. However, Penn State’s offense took over at its own 11-yard line, converted one third down, and was forced to punt the ball away.

The Terps drove the ball down the field and scored another touchdown on a 34-yard catch by Dontay Demus Jr. to put them up 28-7, a score that would stick until the end the first half.

Penn State opened the second half with an absolute disaster, as Clifford fumbled the ball and it was returned by Maryland’s Chance Campbell 29 yards for a touchdown to give the Terps a 35-7 lead.

After driving down into the red zone, Clifford took a 16-yard sack on third down to force a Jake Pinegar 49-yard field goal. Pinegar missed, and the Nittany Lions came away with no points after a 13-play drive.

Penn State’s defense forced Maryland to punt on the next drive, but gave the ball right back when Clifford and the offense were unable convert a fourth down in their own territory.

The third quarter ended with Penn State possessing the ball deep in its own territory trailing 35-7. The Nittany Lions finally put a drive together at the start of the fourth quarter, as Clifford found Washington for a 20-yard touchdown to cut Maryland’s lead to 35-13 with 10:16 left in the game. Penn State attempted a two-point conversion but was unable to convert, keeping it a 35-13 game.

On Penn State’s next two offensive drives, Clifford was intercepted twice by the Maryland defense while trying to connect with Dotson.

Penn State scored a garbage time touchdown at the end of the game to make it a bit closer, but it was way too late, as the Nittany Lions fell 35-19.

Takeaways

  • Penn State’s defense had absolutely no answers for Taulia Tagovailoa and Maryland’s passing attack in the first half. Tagovailoa totaled 246 passing yards and three touchdowns in the first 30 minutes of action. Additionally, true freshman wideout Rakim Jarrett hauled in five receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
  • Sean Clifford struggled mightily throughout the game. The second-year starter turned the ball over three times with a fumble and two interceptions. Additionally, he completed just 47% of his passes and took some brutal sacks that set the offense back. It’s obviously not just on him, but it wasn’t an encouraging performance from Clifford.
  • Once again, Kirk Ciarrocca’s offense was unable to get the run game going. After totaling just 44 rushing yards against Ohio State last week, the offense totaled just 94 rushing yards against a Maryland defense that gave up 587 rushing yards in its first two games. Devyn Ford led Penn State with 36 rushing yards.

What’s Next

Penn State will hit the road to take on Nebraska at noon next Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The game will be broadcast on FS1.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a junior majoring in journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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