Nittany Lions Answer Questions with 59-0 Shutout at Maryland
For nearly two weeks the Nittany Lions heard plenty of criticism about what they were doing wrong during their 3-0 start.
Tonight silenced a lot more of the critics. The Nittany Lions prevent the home team, Terrapins from scoring a single point; an impressive feat regardless of the opponent, but even more impressive when you consider that Maryland was averaging 53.0 points per game before this College Park beatdown.
The defense set the tone early with two interceptions by Jan Johnson and Tariq Castro-Fields. The offense complemented the defense well by converting those turnovers into touchdowns. Sean Clifford looked like a surgeon dissecting the defense as he only had five incompletions and one interception–everything else, including the third most passing yards in school history, was flawless. His ability to run the ball kept Maryland on their heels the entire game.
A lot of credit has to be given to Offensive Coordinator Ricky Rahne, who orchestrated a beautiful game plan. For all of the hate he has received, tonight he showed why head coach James Franklin has so much faith in him. The offense converted numerous times on pivotal third downs. They found ways to score in the red zone and they let Sean Clifford loose in the run game. It is an exciting thought to see how this young offense can continue to grow with three quarters of the season in front of them.
Most importantly, this inexperienced team showed the ability to start fast, something it hadn’t done against Buffalo or Pittsburgh. Even more impressive was their ability to do it on the road. Maybe this pride of lions will become the road warriors they need to become to beat Iowa, Michigan State, and Ohio State.
In the recruiting trail, James Franklin can go into recruit’s homes and tell them that they have outscored Maryland 163-6 in the past three games. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all.