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Nittany Lions Visit “Beaver Stadium South,” Defeat Terrapins 51-15

In the James Franklin era, SECU Stadium has been the friendly confines for the Nittany Lions as Penn State entered today 3-0, outscoring Maryland 156-17 in those games.

Today was no different as Penn State improved to 4-0 in the Franklin era at SECU Stadium in defeating the Terrapins 51-15.

“Offensively, stayed on schedule. First and second down efficiency. Manageable situations on third down. Drew comfortable with progressions. Grinded out the run game. They played a ton of Cover 0. Overloaded protections. Had a lot of guys involved, which was good,” said Franklin in his opening statement in the postgame press conference.

The offense carried the momentum built late against Indiana last week off as quarterback Drew Allar had his best start of the season in completing 25 for 34 passes for 240 yards and four touchdowns.

Franklin recognized Allar’s effort and improvements, especially his decision-making, on a third down play Allar recognized a Cover 0 and made the right read to intended wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith who lost the ball in the lights, “Just comes back to Cover 0. There is no safety. If there’s two, you can’t put any air under it. One, a little bit. With none, you can put a ton of air under it. It’s truly one on one. DBs can act as confident as they want, but when you have to cover 53 1/3, that makes a difference.”

Penn State running backs Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton are still looking for their first 100-yard games of the season, though Allen came close today gaining 91 yards on 14 carries that included a highlight 10-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter where Allen seemed to carry the Terrapin defense into the end zone.

The much-maligned wide receiving core for the Nittany Lions may have finally found a second wide receiver to complement Lambert-Smith in Dante Cephas. The Kent State transfer had his best game of the season securing six receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Franklin commented about Cephas’ breakout performance,

“It’s a win-win for everyone. Want it for him. Want it for team. When one guy concerns people, defenses can make it challenge. But with multiple receivers and tight ends making plays, it’s a real positive. Big confidence booster hopefully for him and Penn State.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Penn State defense entered the day as the No. 2 rush defense in the country. They helped themselves against Maryland for their bid as the No. 1 rush defense by holding the Terrapins to -49 yards, the fewest by a Maryland offense since 1965 when they had -58 against Navy.

The Nittany Lions defense continued their dominance on defense by sacking the Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa six times, had 12 tackles for loss, and forced four turnovers.

“Defensively, except for penalties, were able to keep them way off schedule. They had a hard time running the ball for most of the game. Their run game is their screen game, but it wasn’t effective. A ton of completions, but not a whole lot of yards after the catch. And turnovers have been huge. Proud of fundamental football, most important stats are turnovers and explosives, and have done a really good job with turnovers.”

For the Terrapins it is another season hitting the down the tubes tour after a quick start, having now lost four straight after starting the season 5-0.

Maryland found success in the passing game with Tagovailoa completing his first 17 passes in a row.

When the Nittany Lion's defense made key adjustments, Tagovailoa did not have a ground game to complement his passing game, which took a toll on Tagovailoa who completed only 12 of 22 passes.

Penn State is clicking on all cylinders in all three phases of the game at a perfect time as they host a potentially distracted Michigan team who is dealing with the Connor Stalions espionage fallout.

1 Comment

Tony Thomas
Tony Thomas
Nov 06, 2023

Great read as always Kyle!!

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