Penn State Overwhelms Purdue for 35-7 Homecoming Win
By BILL ALBRIGHT
EasternPAFootball Senior Writer
STATE COLLEGE — For the first 15:43 and last six minutes of Saturday’s 35-7 win over Purdue, Penn State totally dominated the Boilermakers much to the delight of the homecoming crowd 106,356 fans at sun-splashed Beaver Stadium Saturday afternoon.
During the first quarter, the Lions domination was quite evident in the total statistics as PSU held advantages in first downs (8-1), yards rushing (50-11), yards Passing (156-0), total offensive plays (13-1), total offensive yards (206-18) and third-down conversions (3-3 to 0-4) just to name a few.
“Like always I want to thank you guys for coming out to cover Penn State football and like always I want to thank our fans, began PSU head coach James Franklin. “I thought we had a great environment, ended up being great weather.”
Franklin liked the way his troops carried over the momentum from last week’s win over Maryland.
“I thought obviously we came out and really started a very similar way we ended last week,” said Franklin. “Defensively, we are doing some special things right now. It starts up front when your defensive line can stop the run and pressure the quarterback for four downs. When you can get 13 tackles for a loss in a game, get 10 sacks and hold someone to -19 yards rushing. We are playing championship level defense and we’ve been doing it for a number of weeks. Very, very pleased and impressed with that. When you have a young kid like Noah Cain who continues to get better and play with more confidence. He is very decisive in how he runs. He sticks his foot in the ground, he gets force out, he breaks tackles. He’ll get a 16-yarder, then a 12-yarder, then a four-yarder and then a three-yarder, he is just very consistent. He’s always falling forward.”
Cain led all rushers in the game with 105 yards on 12 carries and one touchdown. While Cain and Company weren’t busy carrying the offensive load overland, quarterback Sean Clifford was busy complementing Cains effort with a solid effort that included 20 completions in 29 attempts for 264 yards and three scores.
Clifford spread the scoring wealth around with the three TD tosses as K.J. Hamler, Pat Freiermuth and Jahan Dotson all found the end zone through the airways.
“I think that our offense is really meshing well together. Every position is starting to really get relaxed in there,” said Clifford. “The tougher the test I think that our team keeps on answering the call and I’m really excited about that. We’re definitely making progress we just have to keep on building; put together some complete games so that we can really start wiping teams out.”
As for the lull during the middle of the game, Franklin explained, “I thought we were doing things really sharp offensively until the interception then backed that up with a turnover on special teams and then we were just inconsistent from that point on. Overall, we’re pleased.”
While the Boilermakers came into the game riddled with injuries, the Lions were also nicked up as well.
“There was a lot of talk about some of the guys they were missing in the game and you know, I don’t talk about injuries but there were some guys we were missing as well but we are happy to get a convincing win,” said Franklin. “We continue to get better on third down on defense, we continue to get better on third down on offense, so that’s positive. But, obviously, there are some things we have to get cleaned up on Sunday and Monday so that we have an opportunity to be 1-0 next week. We are going to enjoy this win and we are going to celebrate this. There are going to be a bunch of people in town, obviously there are a bunch of people on campus. I told our guys to go out and enjoy themselves but no issues whatsoever. So I am asking the 250,000 people that are in this town, to make sure there are no issues tonight. Monica the police officer asked me to make that announcement. That is no issues with football players and anyone else. Go out and enjoy yourself, have fun but no issues with anybody.”
As has been the case from the get go, the Lion defense was swarming all over the Beaver Stadium turf. Leading the PSU “D” unit was former Clairton standout Lamont Wade who finished with 11 total tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss. Micah Parsons finished with five stops including a sack and two TFL, while rounding out the top five were Shaka Toney with 4 stops, 3 tackles for loss and 3 sacks and Brandon Smith credited with four tackles.
“We just have to get better on third downs. We tried to address that all week,” said Shaka Toney. “I believe they’re [Purdue] the best passing offense in the Big Ten and we just wanted to challenge ourselves. We knew we needed to come out and get pressure on the quarterback so that’s what we did.
“We’re just having a lot of fun,” said Lion defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos. “It’s always a race to the quarterback to begin with. I love seeing my peers find success in what they’re doing. When one person starts to get going, I feel that it’s infectious, we all feel it.”
As for Wade, although he felt that he played pretty well he feels that he can do better.
“I think it was a pretty solid game,” said Wade. “I had a few plays I would like to get back that I felt like I could’ve done more on, but it was a pretty solid game overall. I don’t really label best game or worst game, but like I said I had a pretty solid game, better than last week, so I’m heading in the right direction.”
The Lions now take to the roadways for a Big 10 encounter with the Iowa Hawkeyes before returning to the friendly confines of Beaver Stadium the following week to face the Michigan Wolverines.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Total
Purdue 0 7 0 0 — 7
Penn State 21 7 0 7 — 35
10:22 PSU – Hamler, KJ 23 yd pass from Clifford, Sean (Pinegar, Jake kick), 6-56, 2:32, 0 – 7
07:04 PSU – Clifford, Sean 3 yd run (Pinegar, Jake kick), 5-33, 2:14, 0 -14
05:20 PSU – Dotson, Jahan 72 yd pass from Clifford, Sean (Pinegar, Jake kick), 2-71, 0:51, 0 -21
14:17 PSU – Freiermuth, Pat 7 yd pass from Clifford, Sean (Pinegar, Jake kick), 7-65, 3:41, 0-28
07:18 PUR – Amad Anderson Jr. 15 yd pass from Jack Plummer (J.D. Dellinger kick), 5-62, 2:35, 7-28
05:44 PSU – Cain, Noah 2 yd run (Pinegar, Jake kick), 7-87, 2:09, 7-35.
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