Three Key Stats: Thompkins, McSorley Help Penn State Cruise by Kent State

By Dan Vecellio on September 16, 2018 at 9:00 am
Sep 15, 2018; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Trace McSorley (9) looks to throw a pass as Kent State Golden Flashes defensive linesmen Jordan Silva (11) attempts a tackle during the third quarter at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Kent State 63-10.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

In their final non-conference game on the 2018 slate, Penn State was able to flex their offensive muscle early and often in a 63-10 victory over the Kent State Golden Flashes. Here, we give you three stats that stuck out.

Thompkins: 4 catches, 101 yds, 1 TD

Coming into Saturday, veteran receiver DeAndre Thompkins had been targeted six times in Penn State's first two games with zero catches to show for it. After three drops last week against Pitt, you could tell that he was deep inside of his own head. It seems as though James Franklin and Trace McSorley made a concerted effort to break Thompkins out of his pass-catching dry spell, targeting him early and often as he ended up with four receptions and 101 receiving yards and the opening touchdown of the game. He also returned three punts with a 20.7 yards per return average. With the Lions' receiving corps letting McSorley down early on this season (outside of the emergence of KJ Hamler), it will be important for Thompkins to build on this performance before a matchup with Ohio State in two weeks. Hopefully, Friday night's matchup with Illinois can be used to get Juwan Johnson back on the straight and narrow on the field.

McSorley: five total touchdowns

McSorley's Heisman chances had taken a bit of a hit due to the lackluster play of his receivers through two games. So against the Golden Flashes, he decided to fill up the stat sheet by himself by using his legs to the tune of three touchdowns while finding Thompkins and Brandon Polk on long touchdowns as well.

In total, the redshirt senior accounted for 283 combined passing and rushing yards and five touchdowns. It is these games where Trace has to pad his stats a bit as there are more chances for him to be bottled up as the schedule gets tougher. He did his part today.

Defense: Seven sacks

While the offense put up 63 points and 667 total yards, the players on the other side of the ball weren't slouches themselves. The defense contained the ground game, continuing their success which started in the second half of last week's game against Pitt. They also made a point of getting to the quarterback on the pass rush, picking up seven sacks on the day, six of them coming at the hands of defensive line members. The most notable of the group to get to the quarterback was true freshman Jayson Oweh, who brought down Woody Barrett twice on his first defensive series as a college football player. The Great Barrier Shareef Miller also picked up a couple sacks while Yetur Gross-Matos added one sack, but was constantly on Barrett's tail in the first half, especially.