It may not have been the perfectly executed game for the Nittany Lions, but Penn State came out on top with a 33-14 victory against Central Michigan on Saturday afternoon in Beaver Stadium.
Sean Clifford started the game connecting on all eight of his pass attempts as Penn State jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but misfires and catchable balls not being hauled in popped up in bunches after that as the Penn State offense stalled a bit in the second quarter. Central Michigan battled back to tie things at 14-14 in the second quarter but the Nittany Lions responded with a go-ahead touchdown run by Kaytron Allen, and Penn State never saw the lead evaporate the rest of the day.
Penn State’s defense had some tough moments against the Chippewas, but they forced five CMU turnovers in the game. It was the second week Penn State forced at least four turnovers in a game. That included one recovery of a muffed punt by Central Michigan in the third quarter, which led to a quick Penn State touchdown to extend its lead.
Clifford ended his afternoon with 217 passing yards and three touchdown passes with one rushing touchdown before getting a chance to relax midway through the fourth quarter. Drew Allar took over for the rest of the day.
After back-to-back 100-rushing performances, Nick Singleton was handled well by Central Michigan. Singleton rushed for just 37 yards on 10 carries. Fortunately for Penn State, Kaytron Allen was there to turn in his first career 100-yard game to lead the offense on the ground.
Penn State made an effort to get Parker Washington more involved from the start. Washington caught six passes on nine targets his way for 64 yards. Tight end Brenton Strange came through with a pair of touchdowns on five catches. Mitchell Tinsley also scored a touchdown for the Nittany Lions, continuing to be a valuable red zone option.
The defense was without a sack until the fourth quarter. Freshman Dani Dennis-Sutton picked up two very quickly late in the game.
Penn State will be home once again next week for a Big Ten matchup with Northwestern. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 1.
Central Michigan will play their MAC opener on the road at Toledo next Saturday, also at 3:30 p.m. ET.
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