Final Thoughts: Penn State 59, Maryland 0

By Matt de Bear on September 27, 2019 at 11:29 pm
Sep 27, 2019; College Park, MD, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Ricky Slade (3) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Maryland Terrapins in the second quarter at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It only took six plays from scrimmage for Penn State to take control of this game. Jan Johnson picked off Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson on the game's fifth snap, and Sean Clifford found the end zone with his legs on the next play. The Nittany Lions were off and running en route to a thoroughly dominating 59-0 victory.

  • What a performance for Sean Clifford. Not only did he score the game's first touchdown, but he was also downright dominant through the air. 26-for-31, 398 yards, and four passing touchdowns were really the story of the evening. Only a sensational interception on a deep ball by Nick Cross spoiled the night for the redshirt sophomore making just his fourth start. This was billed as a tough road environment, and Clifford did not flinch one bit.
  • Brent Pry's defense got put in a tough spot early with the targeting ejection of Micah Parsons, but they did not miss a beat. Jesse Luketa took the majority of the snaps in his stead and did not look out of place at all. The depth of talent all across the roster was certainly on display.
  • There have been larger margins of victory, including the Lions' last trip to Maryland Stadium, but you would be hard pressed to find a more dominant performance by Penn State in every phase of the game. Everything Ricky Rahne called on the offensive side of the ball worked, and Pry's defensive charges did not let up. The Nittany Lions outgained their hosts by a 619-128 yard margin, and save for one foray into Penn State territory that was snuffed out by a Tariq Castro-Fields interception, the Terps never sniffed points. 
  • The Nittany Lion coaching staff deserves a ton of credit for how they came out of the bye week after a lackluster victory over Pitt. We saw a team that was 100% prepared from the very start, including a 9-for-13 performance on third downs. That was a massive improvement over the season's first three games.
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