No. 12 Penn State Runs Past Maryland, 38-3

by | Nov 25, 2018 | RRSN News | 0 comments

No. 12 Penn State Runs Past Maryland, 38-3

McSorley leads seniors on Senior Day with three touchdowns responsible for

 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A stifling defensive effort and balanced offensive attack helped No. 12 Penn State close the regular season on a winning note, as the Nittany Lions defeated Maryland, 38-3, in Big Ten football action on Senior Day at Beaver Stadium.

The 21 members of the Penn State (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten) senior class wrapped up their careers with a 25-3 record at Beaver Stadium in the last four years. Senior quarterback Trace McSorley, Penn State’s all-time winningest quarterback, had a fitting conclusion to his time in front of the home crowd, with 230 passing yards, 64 rushing yards and three touchdowns responsible for. He broke Penn State’s career completion mark, finishing the day with 703 (693; Christian Hackenberg, 2013-15), and his final pass before giving way to Tommy Stevens was a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to freshman tight end Pat Freiermuth.

The Nittany Lions racked up 565 total yards and held Maryland (5-7, 3-6 Big Ten) to 259, including a 310-74 edge in rushing yards. Running back Miles Sanders led Penn State’s effort on the ground with 128 rushing yards and an average of 9.1 yards per carry, while freshman understudy Ricky Slade had two rushing touchdowns.

Penn State also dominated in tackles for loss, only surrendering two negative plays on offense while dropping the Terrapins behind the line 15 times – its most in a Big Ten game since 2007 against Michigan (15 TFL). Defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos led 11 Lions with at least an assisted TFL with 3.5 negative stops, while defensive tackle Kevin Givens had 2.0 sacks out of the Lions’ five for the game.

 

It was the third game in a row in which Penn State’s defense held its opponent to less than 300 yards of total offense. Linebacker Cam Brown and safety Garrett Taylor led in tackles with five apiece

 

Penn State led from the game’s opening drive until the end. Both of McSorley’s rushing touchdowns and the Terrapins lone score were in the first quarter, and a field goal by Jake Pinegar late in the second quarter gave the Lions a 17-3 lead at halftime. Slade’s two touchdowns and McSorley’s touchdown pass in the second half put the game out of reach.

 

Keys and Difference Makers

Trace McSorley (PSU, QB)

McSorley stepped off the Beaver Stadium field for the final time early in the fourth quarter, rushing 11 times for 64 yards and two touchdowns, and completing 12-of-22 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown, setting the school’s career completions record (703) in the process. For the fifth time in his career, McSorley rushed for multiple touchdowns and his 21st career game with both a rushing and passing touchdown. McSorley is one of five players in FBS this season to have 2,000 passing yards and 700 rushing yards, joining Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, Virginia’s Bryce Perkins, Ohio University’s Nathan Rourke and Syracuse’s Eric Dungy.

 

Penn State Running Game

Penn State totaled 310 rushing yards for its second-highest total of the season (387; at Illinois). Sanders posted his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season, carrying the ball 14 times for 128 yards, and McSorley and Slade posted identical stat lines of 11 rushes for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Tommy Stevens (35 yards) and running backs Journey Brown (17) and senior Johnathan Thomas (2) also contributed to the total.

 

Tackles for Loss

Penn State totaled 15 tackles for loss, which was its most since posting 16 against Kent State earlier this season. It was the Nittany Lions’ fifth game with 15 or tackles for loss since 2000 and the first time they accomplished feat twice in the same season since 2000. Gross-Matos’ team-best 3.5 TFLs were just 0.5 shy of his career high set against Iowa earlier this season, and his 20 TFLs this season are the most by a Penn State player since Aaron Maybin had 20 in 2008.

 

Penn State had just two negative plays on offense.

 

KJ Hamler (PSU, WR)

Hamler caught a 34-yard pass on the game’s first play from scrimmage and added 32 yards receiving on a hook-and-ladder play at the end of the first half as part of a three-catch 90-yard effort to lead Penn State’s receivers.

 

Tyrell Pigrome (Maryland, QB)

Pigrome completed 14-of-23 passes to eight different receivers for a total of 185 yards to lead Maryland offensively. A 48-yard completion to wide receiver Brian Cobbs setup the Terrapins’ lone score.

 

Step-by-Step

Penn State jumped out to a 14-3 lead in the first quarter with a pair of McSorley rushing touchdowns.

 

The Nittany Lions opened the game with consecutive 30-yard plays, as McSorley hit Hamler over the middle for a 34-yard reception on the first play from scrimmage and Sanders weaved his way through the Terrapin defense for a 35-yard carry the very next play, moving the Lions to the Maryland 5-yard line. Sanders rushed for 2 yards on the next play and then McSorley scampered around the left end from 3 yards out for the touchdown.

 

Both teams traded punts before Maryland got on the board with a 26-yard field goal by Joseph Petrino. A 48-yard completion from Pigrome to Cobbs keyed the drive.

 

Penn State answered with another touchdown before the end of the quarter, as McSorley found open field up the middle for a 20-yard touchdown run to cap an eight-play, 75-yard drive.

 

Pinegar added a 25-yard field goal to give Penn State a two-touchdown lead heading into the halftime break.

 

Penn State picked up where it left off in the second half, forcing a three-and-out to open the third quarter before going on a nine-play, 86-yard touchdown drive. After a 22-yard completion to Jahan Dotson to get the drive started, Sanders and Slade combined for six-straight rushes for 50 yards, and a targeting penalty moved the Lions to the 8. Immediately following the penalty, Slade found the end zone on a rush.

 

Maryland had a chance to score early in the fourth quarter, but Petrino missed a 31-yard field goal wide right, and Penn State answered with a six-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. After a 2-yard rush by McSorley to start it, he connected with Freiermuth for 22 yards and Juwan Johnson for 38 yards on consecutive plays to reach the Maryland 18. He then threw to Johnson for 8 more yards before connecting with Freiermuth in the end zone for a touchdown and 31-3 lead.

 

Slade scored on a 1-yard run with 6:13 remaining for the final margin.

 

Up Next

Penn State will learn its bowl destination Sunday, Dec. 2.

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