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Penn State’s Offense Unveils Razzle-Dazzle In Win Over Auburn

Boy, that was fun!

Penn State beat Auburn 28-20 in its White Out game Saturday night behind some newfound creativity from Mike Yurcich’s offense. Yurcich busted open the playbook on a number of occasions throughout the game, which certainly caught Auburn’s defense off guard.

The first trick play was courtesy of Jahan Dotson. Clifford threw the ball over to Dotson behind the line of scrimmage, and Dotson tossed it deep to Tyler Warren for a 22-yard gain. The second came in the wildcat formation when Warren took a direct snap and leaped over the line into the end zone to put Penn State up 21-10 in the third quarter.

The creativity on offense is a result of the team wanting to be more diverse. According to James Franklin, a mixture of creativity and the basics is what is key for his team’s offense.

“We want to be diverse,” Franklin said after the game. “We want to keep people on their heels. Obviously, there’s an aspect you want to be able to just hammer it when you need to, whether it’s in the low red zone or whether that is on short-yardage situations.”

“But I also think about things like the double pass,” he continued. “It creates hesitation. They get concerned, they don’t run downhill as fast as they could. Even just getting the play where we were going to throw the ball out of the wildcat formation I think is going to give people some concerns and hesitation. Hopefully it’ll help us down the road.”

The potential throw out of the wildcat that Franklin mentioned happened deep in Auburn’s territory with Penn State threatening to score. Warren took the direct snap and appeared like he was going to throw. It obviously didn’t work out this time, as he ended up being tackled behind the line of scrimmage. However, opposing defenses now need to prepare for a play like that, which could open up Penn State’s offense in other ways.

As far as Dotson’s pass is concerned, it’s something they’ve been working on in practice for a long, long time. Tight end Brenton Strange said they’ve repped it “over and over again”, and they were able to execute it in the game.

The man himself, Dotson, was excited when he heard the call, and he talked about the success the play has had in the past during practice.

“That’s been in the playbook literally forever,” Dotson said. “We scored on it in a scrimmage versus the defense in a scrimmage during fall camp.”

Dotson’s quarterback, Sean Clifford, emphatically said after the game that he thought the play was great. However, he joked that Dotson could have led Warren more and that they’ll have to go over that in the film room on Sunday.

Dotson didn’t disagree with Clifford, as he thinks the throw could have been a bit better as well.

“It was pretty wide open,” Dotson said. “Wasn’t one of my greatest passes in my career, I’ve had some better ones. But I was just happy to get the completion to Tyler [Warren].”

“Yeah, I probably could’ve led him a little more,” Dotson continued. “I saw a guy coming at me, but there was probably no one near me. I just kind of threw it up there, saw he was wide open, and thank God he caught it.”

Dotson’s pass was just one of many big plays he made for the Nittany Lions Saturday night. The wideout totaled 10 receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown.

Additionally, Dotson made an impressive catch midway through the second quarter to push Penn State into Auburn’s territory.

The guy who threw him the ball, Clifford, had himself a day, too. The signal-caller completed an absurd 88% of his passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns. From the start, QB1 knew he locked in.

“It was probably the calmest I’ve ever been in a game, to be honest with you,” Clifford said. “I went in, and from the first snap, I was seeing everything so clear tonight.”

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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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