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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

No. 22 Penn State demolishes Auburn as Tigers’ TJ Finley gets benched


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No. 22 Penn State traveled to Auburn and took care of business handily.

The Nittany Lions took down the unranked Tigers, 41-12.

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Penn State offensive lineman Juice Scruggs (70) celebrates with Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (14) after he scored a touchdown against Auburn during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Auburn, Ala.
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

The Tigers set the tone early, popping QB Sean Clifford hard and forcing a fumble. The Lions held on to it, but the next play resulted in a turnover on downs that Auburn turned into a field goal.

However, Clifford wasn’t affected. He ran one into the end zone from seven yards to give the Lions a 7-3 lead in the first to cap off a 75-yard drive.

At the end of the first quarter, the Tigers ran a play where it seemed the ball was snapped after the quarter had ended. T.J. Finley threw an interception, but no one had reviewed the play that technically should have never happened. Thankfully for Auburn, Penn State punted, and Auburn managed a field goal to bring the game within one, but it’s definitely a literal “what if” in this one.

In the final minutes of the second quarter, the Lions ran from trickery, and Clifford had a 25-yard catch and run himself. Kaytron Allen punched one in from three yards to then give Penn State a 14-6 lead.

Auburn went three-and-out to start the second half, and Nicholas Singleton took advantage. He had a 52-yard rush to bring the Lions inside the Auburn five-yard line. He then took two more handoffs to find the end zone and give Penn State a 21-6 lead with 12:16 left in the third.

And that was the beginning of the Lions’ coast to victory.

Running back Kaytron Allen #13 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of their game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 17, 2022 in Auburn, Alabama.

Running back Kaytron Allen #13 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of their game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 17, 2022 in Auburn, Alabama.
(Michael Chang/Getty Images)

PENN STATE QB GETS LAID OUT BY AUBURN DEFENDER IN GAME’S FIRST DRIVE

Penn State recovered a Finley fumble on a sack and turned that into a field goal, and Finley was done for the day.

Auburn answered with a long drive that lasted 11 plays and put them inside the Lions’ 10-yard line. But on first down, backup QB Robby Ashford was tackled for a loss of four. He was then sacked for a loss of 12, and then sacked again for a loss of 11. On 4th and goal from the Penn State 37, he threw an interception. The Nittany Lions took a six-play, 48-yard drive to the house as Allen scored his second touchdown of the game, giving Penn State a 31-6 lead with just over a minute left in the third.

Ashford found Jarquez Hunter for a 22-yard touchdown early in the fourth, but Singleton answered right back with a 54-yard rushing touchdown to give Penn State a 38-12 lead.

Penn State punted just once in the second half, adding a late field goal as well.

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford scrambles for yardage during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Auburn, Ala.

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford scrambles for yardage during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Auburn, Ala.
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

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Clifford completed 14 of his 19 passes for 178 yards, and he had 15 yards on the ground in six carries and a score. Singleton finished with 124 yards rushing, 106 of them coming on a pair of rushes. Brenton Strange led all Nittany Lions receivers with six catches and 80 yards.

Penn State won last year’s matchup, 28-20.



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