No. 5 Penn State Blanks Georgia State, 56-0
McSorley, Barkley lead offense; Defense pulls in five takeaways
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley turned in record performances in the first half as Penn State (3-0) cruised past Georgia State (0-2), 56-0, before 102,746 fans Saturday night in Beaver Stadium.
Barkley enjoyed a career-day through the air, pulling in an 85-yard touchdown reception as part of a four-catch, 142-yard effort. It was the third-longest passing play in Penn State history and the longest ever by Penn State in Beaver Stadium. McSorley finished with 309 yards passing and four touchdowns on 18-of-23 passing after throwing for a Penn State-record 258 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Both only played through the first two drives of the third quarter.
Barkley and McSorley were not the only contributors offensively, as eight different Nittany Lions ultimately found the end zone. Tommy Stevens, who also threw for a touchdown, caught the first touchdown of the game, while receivers Saeed Blacknall, DaeSean Hamilton and Brandon Polk also added touchdown catches. Running backs Miles Sanders and Andre Robinson both broke free for long touchdown runs in the second half.
Earning their second shutout in three games, the Penn State defense pulled in five turnovers; all of which led to touchdowns. Marcus Allen highlighted the unit’s takeaways with his first career interception, which he returned 50 yards into Georgia State territory. Penn State did not allow the Panthers into the red zone until the final drive of the game.
Penn State outgained Georgia State 526 yards to 320 and earned its largest win since defeating Coastal Carolina, 66-10, in 2008.
- QB Trace McSorley – McSorley set a Penn State record for passing yards in the first half, completing 14-of-19 attempts for 258 yards and three touchdowns. He played until part way through the second offensive drive of the second half, leaving with 309 yards passing and four touchdowns, completing 18-of-29 attempts. He also rushed for 24 yards on three carries with one touchdown, making him responsible for five of Penn State’s eight touchdowns. His touchdown passes extended his Penn State-record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 18. His 85-yard touchdown pass to Barkley makes him the first Penn State quarterback with two career 80-plus yard passing plays.
- QB Tommy Stevens – Stevens saw action as both a receiver out of the backfield and quarterbacked much of the second half. He finished with two receptions for 19 yards and a touchdown and completed 2-of-4 pass attempts for 43 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown toss to Saeed Blacknall in the third quarter. His receiving and passing touchdowns were the first of his career.
- RB Saquon Barkley – Playing through only the first offensive drive of the second half, Barkley totaled a career-high 142 yards receiving, aided by an 85-yard touchdown reception. He also added 50 yards on 10 carries and returned the opening kickoff 37 yards to total 226 all-purpose yards.
- WR Saeed Blacknall – Blacknall totaled three catches for 64 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown reception.
- WR DaeSean Hamilton – Hamilton caught three passes for 44 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter.
- RBs Miles Sanders and Andre Robinson – Sanders and Robinson both broke off long touchdown runs in the second half, as Sanders scored from 29 yards out and Robinson scored from 41.
- LB Manny Bowen – Bowen led the Lions with six tackles and assisted on a sack.
- DE Daniel Joseph – Joseph made his first career tackles, including 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and 2.5 stops behind the line.
- DBs Marcus Allen, Grant Haley and Tariq Castro-Fields – Allen, Haley and Castro-Fields all hauled in interceptions. For Allen and Castro-Fields, it was their first career picks. Allen returned his for 50 yards, and all three resulted in touchdown drives.
- DL Kevin Givens and Yetor Gross-Matos – The defensive linemen both recovered their first career fumbles.
- DE Shaka Toney – Toney had his first career forced fumble and a career-high three tackles, career-best 1.5 tackles for loss and his first career sack.
- RB Taz Bateman – Bateman paced the Panthers 100 rushing yards on 29 carries. He also caught three passes for 19 yards.
First Quarter (Penn State 14, Georgia State 0)
Penn State got off to a fast start, ignited by a 37-yard kickoff return by Saquon Barkley, as it marched 63 yards on eight plays for a touchdown on its opening drive. McSorley completed five consecutive passes on the drive to move Penn State into the red zone, and he concluded it with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Stevens out of the backfield.
Penn State was able to move off its own 1-yard line to its 22 on its second drive but was forced to punt. A 52-yard punt by Blake Gillikin and a defensive stop gave Penn State slightly better position on its next drive, but the Nittany Lions faced third-and-12 from their own 15. Under pressure McSorley, dumped off to Barkley in the left flat, and Barkley maneuvered past multiple Georgia State defenders down the sideline for an 85-yard touchdown with 49 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Second Quarter (Penn State 35, Georgia State 0)
The Nittany Lions needed just three plays to cover 86 yards for a touchdown on their third touchdown drive of the game. McSorley connected with Barkley out of the backfield for a 44-yard wheel-route reception down the right sideline to the Georgia State 42, Miles Sanders followed with a 15-yard rush around the left end and then McSorley connected with DaeSean Hamilton on a 27-yard touchdown pass with 11:44 to go in the second quarter for a 21-0 lead.
The two teams traded punts, and then a Grant Haley interception setup a one-play scoring drive, as Miles Sanders scored from 29 yards out for a 28-0 advantage.
Georgia State had its deepest penetration into Penn State territory of the half on its next possession, reaching the Penn State 25, but Shaka Toney dropped Georgia State back five yards on a rushing play, and then Marcus Allen earned his first career interception at the 25, returning it 50 yards to the Georgia State 25. McSorley then capped a four-play drive with an 8-yard touchdown rush with 3:26 remaining before the break for a 35-0 halftime lead.
Third Quarter (Penn State 49, Georgia State 0)
Georgia State received the half-opening kickoff and reached the Penn State 37, but Georgia State quarterback Connor Manning fumbled under pressure and Kevin Givens recovered it at the Penn State 45. McSorley then completed a 21-yard pass to Saeed Blacknall on third-and-3 to the Georgia State 18 and eventually found Brandon Polk in the end zone from 15-yards out for a 42-0 lead.
True freshman Tariq Castro-Fields intercepted Manning’s pass on the first play of Georgia State’s ensuing possession to give the Nittany Lions the ball back at the Georgia State 42. Stevens caught a 9-yard pass and then took over at quarterback, handing off to Mark Allen for eight yards, taking a 10-yard sack back to the Georgia State 35, and then taking a hit while launching a 35-yard touchdown pass to Blacknall in the back of the end zone for a 49-0 lead.
Fourth Quarter (Penn State 56, Georgia State 0)
Andre Robinson broke free for a career-long 41-yard rushing touchdown with 8:55 remaining for the final margin.
PSU – 11:48 – TD – Tommy Stevens 10 yd Pass from Trace McSorley, 8 plays, 63 yards, 3:12, 7-0
PSU – 0:49 – TD – Saquon Barkley 85 yd Pass from Trace McSorley, 3 plays, 83 yards, 0:58, 14-0
PSU – 11:44 – TD – DaeSean Hamilton 27 yd Pass from Trace McSorley, 3 plays, 86 yards, 1:09, 21-0
PSU – 8:55 – TD – Miles Sanders 29 yd Rush, 1 play, 29 yards, 0:09, 28-0
PSU – 3:26 – TD – Trace McSorley 8 yd Rush, 4 plays, 25 yards, 2:02, 35-0
PSU – 7:56 – TD – Brandon Polk 15 yd Pass from Trace McSorley, 6 plays, 55 yards, 2:45, 42-0
PSU – 6:01 – TD – Saeed Blacknall 35 yd Pass from Tommy Stevens, 4 plays, 42 yards, 1:45, 49-0
PSU – 8:55 – TD – Andre Robinson 41 yd Rush, 4 plays, 69 yards, 1:47, 56-0
Penn State begins its Big Ten and road slate at Iowa with a 7:30 p.m. kick televised on ABC.
Single-game tickets for the 2017 Penn State football season presented by PSECU are available for three home games (Indiana, Rutgers, Nebraska). For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2018 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.PSUnrivaled.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 9 a.m-4:30 p.m. More than 9,000 new season tickets have been sold and the season ticket allotment for 2017 has been exhausted.