Strong Second Half Helps Penn State Roll Past Purdue

West Lafayette, Ind. – After heading into halftime tied at 17, No. 24 Penn State scored 17 straight to open the third quarter and outscored Purdue 45-7 in the second half on its way to a 66-24 victory on Saturday afternoon inside Ross-Ade Stadium.

<em><strong>(Photo of Saquan Barkley. Photo by Paul Burdick. <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Check out more of Burdick’s work here</a>)</strong></em>

The Nittany Lions had six scoring drives of under two minutes on their way to the first 60-point scoring game since the 2008 season (66 vs. Coastal Carolina). Their 62 points scored are the most against a Big Ten opponent since 2005 when Penn State claimed a 63-10 victory at Illinois.

Sophomore running back Saquon Barkley racked up career highs with 207 rushing yards and 277 (207 rushing, 70 receiving) all-purpose yards. His 277 all-purpose yards are a Penn State sophomore record and his 207 rushing yards make him the first Penn Stater since Larry Johnson (four times, 2002) to eclipse the 200-yard mark twice in the same season since 2002. The rushing total ranks No. 21 on the single-game rushing charts for the Nittany Lions and are the most by a Nittany Lion since Larry Johnson had 289 against Michigan State in 2002.

The backfield carried the load for Penn State, as six Nittany Lions combined for 257 yards on just 38 carries, led by Barkley’s 207 yards on 18 totes (11.5 ypc). Barkley and redshirt-freshman Andre Robinson each scored twice on the ground, with Mark Allen adding another rushing score in the fourth quarter. Miles Sanders added his first career receiving touchdown to give the backfield six total scores on the day.

The defense and special teams forced four turnovers in the game, the most by Penn State since pressuring Maryland into five turnovers in 2015. Brandon Smith and Christian Campbell each pulled down their second career interceptions, with Kevin Givens and Jordan Smith each posting their first career fumble recoveries. Jason Cabinda led the charge with a game-high nine tackles.

Turning Point
Brandon Smith started the second half at middle linebacker and pulled down his second career interception on the third play from scrimmage. Smith returned the interception 22 yards and four plays later, Trace McSorley found Chris Godwin for a 1-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-17 in favor of the Blue and White. The Nittany Lions would go on to outscore Purdue by 38 points, 45-7, in the second half.

Difference Makers
Penn State

  • RB Saquon Barkley – Carried 18 times for a career-high 207 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 70 yards receiving on three catches. The 207 rushing yards rank No. 21 on Penn State’s single-game rushing charts and are his second 200-yard effort of the season. His 277 all-purpose yards mark a career high, as well, and set the Penn State sophomore record. A good chunk of those yards came on an 81-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
  • Penn State RBs – The quartet of Barkley, Mark Allen, Andre Robinson and Miles Sanders combined for 328 yards of total offense (237 rushing, 91 receiving) and six touchdowns. Barkley and Robinson each rushed for two scores, while Sanders caught a 21-yard touchdown pass and Allen rumbled in from 1-yard out for a score.
  • QB Trace McSorley – Posted his fifth career 200-yard passing game with 228 yards through the air. He is tied for 14th with Doug Strang (1982-83) in the Penn State career ledger and ninth in the season ledger, also with Strang (1983).
  • WR Chris Godwin – Caught five passes for 58 yards, including two touchdown grabs, which tie a career high (Michigan State, 2015). His two scoring grabs give him 12 for his career and move him into the No. 10 spot on the career touchdown receptions list. He also moved into the Top 10 in career receiving yardage (1,844), passing current assistant head coach and cornerbacks coach Terry Smith (1988-91) and Jack Curry (1965-67) to move into 10th.
  • LB Jason Cabinda – Posted a game-high nine tackles – six solo – to give him at least nine stops in all three games he has appeared in this season.
  • LB Brandon Smith – Nabbed his second career interception and returned it 22 yards to set up Penn State’s first touchdown of the season half. Also added four tackles.
  • Fumble Recoveries – Jordan Smith and Kevin Givens each posted their first career fumble recoveries in the game. Smith fell on a muffed punt in the third quarter, while Givens corralled his fumble recovery early in the fourth quarter.


  • QB David Blough – Accounted for 281 yards through the air on 34-of-50 passing with two touchdown passes and one interception. Connected with DeAngelo Yancey for a 62-yard scoring strike in the third quarter.
  • RB Markell Jones – Compiled 105 yards of total offense with 46 rushing yards and 59 receiving yards. Added a rushing touchdown in the game.
  • WR DeAngelo Yancey – Caught two passes for 66 yards, including the 62-yard catch-and-run down the sidelines for Purdue’s lone second half score.
  • Purdue Pass Catchers – Eleven different players caught passes for Purdue, including eight grabs from Cameron Posey, seven by Cole Herdman and six for Markell Jones.

Penn State/Purdue Box Score

Scoring Drives
1st Qtr
PSU – 11:33 – TD – Saquon Barkley, 3 yd rush, 8 plays, 85 yards, 3:27 – 0-7
PUR – 6:26 – TD – Markell Jones, 1 yd rush, 10 plays, 77 yards, 5:07 – 7-7

2nd Qtr
PUR – 14:32 – TD – Cameron Posey 1 yd pass from David Blough, 13 plays, 55 yards, 5:24 – 14-7
PSU – 12:33 – TD – Chris Godwin 38 yd pass from Trace McSorley, 5 plays, 82 yards, 1:59 – 14-14
PUR – 6:57 – FG – J.D. Dellinger 42 yd kick, 12 plays, 50 yards, 5:36 – 17-14
PSU – 2:36 – FG – Tyler David 33 yd kick, 11 plays, 72 yards, 4:21 – 17-17

3rd Qtr
PSU – 12:29 – TD – Chris Godwin 1 yd pass from Trace McSorley, 4 plays, 24 yards, 1:18 – 17-24
PSU – 8:17 – TD – Andre Robinson 4 yd rush, 2 plays, 24 yards, 0:39 – 17-31
PSU – 4:21 – FG – Tyler Davis 29 yd kick, 6 plays, 61 yards, 1:42 – 17-34
PUR – 2:32 – TD – DeAngelo Yancey 62 yd pass from David Blough, 4 plays, 75 yards, 1:49 – 24-34
PSU – 1:18 – TD – Miles Sanders 21 yd pass from Trace McSorley, 3 plays, 40 yards, 1:14 – 24-41

4th Qtr
PSU – 13:56 – TD – Saquon Barkley 81 yd rush, 1 play, 81 yards, 0:13 – 24-48
PSU – 6:09 – TD – Mark Allen 1 yd rush, 7 plays, 58 yards, 3:07 – 24-55
PSU – 2:25 – TD – Andre Robinson 19 yd rush, 4 plays, 28 yards, 2:16 – 24-62

Key Drives
First Quarter
PSU 15:00-11:33 (3:27, 8 plays, 85 yards) – TOUCHDOWN
Despite starting at their own 15-yard line, Penn State drove 85 yards to open. It was the second time in the last three game that Penn State scored on its opening possession. On the drive, Saquon Barkley totaled 62 yards – with 37 coming on a catch-and-run to set up his 3-yard touchdown run up the middle. Mike Gesicki had a big 23-yard reception on third-and-10 at the Purdue 38 to extend the drive.
Penn State 7, Purdue 0

PUR 11:33-6:26 (5:07, 10 plays, 77 yards) – TOUCHDOWN
Seven rushes gained 42 yards, while quarterback David Blough completed 4-of-5 passes for 28 yards to guide Purdue down the field to even the score. The Nittany Lions had three penalties inside the Purdue 10 yard line to give the Boilermakers a first-and-goal from its own 1-yard line. Markell Jones plunged in from 1-yard out and accounted for 38 total yards on the drive.
Penn State 7, Purdue 7 

Second Quarter
PUR 4:56-14:32 (5:24, 13 plays, 55 yards) – TOUCHDOWN

Long plays of 15 and 19 yards accounted for most of the yardage on Purdue’s second scoring drive of the game. Blough found Bilal Marshall for seven yards on fourth-and-3 to extend the drive and connected with DeAngelo Yancey for a 19 yards completion on third-and-10 to move the Boilermakers down to the PSU 7. After the first quarter ended, Blough completed a 6-yard pass to Cole Herdman before finding Cameron Posey for the 1-yard TD throw.
Purdue 14, Penn State 7

PSU 14:32-12:33 (1:59, 5 plays, 82 yards) – TOUCHDOWN
The first of six scoring drive of under two minutes in the game, Penn State marched 82 yards on just five plays to tie the score at 14. A 5-yard offside penalty on Purdue converted a third-and-4 to open the drive and on the next play Trace McSorley found Barkley for 21 yards on a swing pass out of the backfield. Chris Godwin caught his fourth touchdown pass of the season – the 11th of his career – on a 38-yard pass across the middle.
Penn State 14, Purdue 14

PUR 12:33-6:57 (5:36, 12 plays, 50 yards) – FIELD GOAL
Another sustained drive for the Boilermakers was made easier by a Penn State penalty, this time a pass interference call on Marcus Allen on a fourth-and-9 play in Penn State territory. Blough completed 6-of-8 passes on the drive, including three completions of 10 yards or more. Following the fourth down conversion, a Purdue holding penalty put them behind the sticks on first down and the PSU defense held to force the 42-yard field goal attempt by J.D. Dellinger, which he converted for a career-long effort.
Purdue 17, Penn State 14

PSU 6:57-2:36 (4:21, 11 plays, 72 yards) – FIELD GOAL
The see-saw game continued as Penn State put together an 11-play, 72-yard scoring drive that ended in a Tyler Davis 33-yard field goal. Barkley accounted for 20 yards on the ground, while McSorley found DaeSean Hamilton for 14 yards and Godwin for 17 clicks to move the Nittany Lions to the Purdue 20. A Purdue pass interference call helped advance the drive, as well, before Davis came on to convert his 20th career field goal.
Penn State 17, Purdue 17

PUR 0:57-0:17 (0:40, 6 plays, 31 yards) – MISSED FIELD GOAL
The drive that began with a 31-yard completion on the second play from scrimmage, but ended with a missed field goal from 39 yards out by Dellinger. After Blough found Jones for a 31-yard pitch-and-catch, the Nittany Lion defense held the Boilermaker offense at bay on the next three plays to force the field goal attempt. Dellinger missed the attempt wide left to send the game into the half tied at 17.
Penn State 17, Purdue 17

Third Quarter
PUR 15:00-13:47 (1:13, 3 plays, 7 yards) – INTERCEPTION

After a couple of short runs, Penn State middle linebacker Brandon Smith dropped into coverage and grabbed his second interception of the season – and his career – and returned it for 22 yards to set up the Penn State offense at the Purdue 24-yard line.
Penn State 17 , Purdue 17

PSU 13:47-12:29 (1:18, 4 plays, 24 yards) – TOUCHDOWN
Following the interceptions, three straight runs by Barkley moved the Nittany Lions to the Purdue 1-yard line and McSorley found Godwin for the short touchdown toss to retake the lead. Barkley moved the ball nine yards, nine yards and five yards to set up Godwin’s second TD grab of the day and 12th of his career. His 12 touchdown grabs rank No. 10 on the career touchdown receptions charts.
Penn State 24, Purdue 17

PSU 8:56-8:17 (0:39, 2 plays, 24 yards) – TOUCHDOWN
After Jordan Smith recovered his first career fumble on a muffed punt by Bilal Marshall, Barkley burst off the right side of the offensive line for 20 yards to set up first-and-goal. On the next play, Andre Robinson carried up the middle for a 4-yard touchdown run, the second of his career.
Penn State 31, Purdue 17

PSU 6:03-4:21 (1:42, 6 plays, 61 yards) – FIELD GOAL
Davis knocked through his second field goal of the afternoon from 29 yards. A pair of chunk play accounted for most of Penn State’s yards on the drive, as McSorley connected with Saeed Blacknall for 42 yards and Barkley followed that with a 17-yard carry.
Penn State 34, Purdue 17

PUR 4:21-2:32 (1:49, 4 plays, 75 yards) – TOUCHDOWN
A holding penalty on third down by Penn State gave Purdue a fresh set of downs and two plays later Blough found Yancey for a 62-yard scoring strike down the sideline.
Penn State 34, Purdue 24

PSU 2:32-1:18 (1:14, 3 plays, 40 yards) – TOUCHDOWN
After an unsuccessful onside kick attempt by Purdue, the Nittany Lions needed just three plays to find the end zone. Barkley opened the drive with a 22-yard rush and Miles Sanders capped the drive with a 21-yard touchdown catch two plays later. Sanders snuck out of the backfield and strolled into the end zone for his first career scoring reception.
Penn State 41, Purdue 24

Fourth Quarter
PSU 14:09-13:56 (0:13, 1 play, 81 yards) – TOUCHDOWN

Barkley broke a career-long 81-yard rush off the right side, outrunning the Purdue defense down the sideline for his second rushing score of the game. The 81-yard touchdown run is the eighth-longest touchdown run in school history and the longest since Bill Belton’s 92-yard scoring sprint at Indiana in 2014. The rush also pushed Barkley over the 200-yard rushing mark for the second time in his career, both coming this season.
Penn State 48, Purdue 24

PSU 9:16-6:09 (3:07, 7 plays, 58 yards) – TOUCHDOWN
Tommy Stevens (Indianapolis, Ind.) entered the game at quarterback and led the Nittany Lions on a 7-play, 58-yard scoring drive, with 32 of those yards coming on the ground. Stevens ran for 12 yards and completed his first career pass for 26 yards to Irvin Charles . Mark Allen punched it in for the touchdown from 1-yard out to push Penn State over the 50-point mark for the first time since Oct. 10, 2009 when Penn State notched 52 points vs. Eastern Illinois. It was Allen’s first score of the season and second rushing touchdown of his career.
Penn State 55, Purdue 24

PSU 4:41-2:25 (2:16, 4 plays, 28 yards) – Touchdown
Following Christian Campbell’s second career interception, Robinson added a second rushing touchdown, this time on a career-long 19-yard rush on fourth-and-1 as Penn State was attempting to run out the clock. Stevens added nine yards rushing on the drive, as well. The Nittany Lions cracked the 60-point mark for the first time since 2008 (66 vs. Coastal Carolina) and the first time in a Big Ten game since putting up 63 points against Illinois in 2005.
Penn State 62, Purdue 24

Up Next
Penn State returns to Beaver Stadium for a 7:30 kickoff against Iowa on the Big Ten Network.

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