Report card: Grading Penn State’s Week 3 performance at Auburn

·3 min read

Penn State handled Auburn last year in State College by winning by a mere eight points. That was not the case this year with the team traveling down to Jordan-Hare Stadium and laying the smackdown on the Auburn Tigers.

They become the first Big Ten to win a game in Jordan-Hare Stadium and they did so in an impressive fashion. The offense was clicking, the defense imposed their will after a slow start, and the special teams did great with what little they were asked to handle.

To kick things off, the quarterbacks played well across the board and deserve big praise to start this report card.

Quarterback

Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: A+

Sean Clifford last year picked apart the Auburn defense. After a slow start to the game he started to settle in after converting a major third down in the first half. He didn’t throw any touchdowns but he went 14/19 for 178 yards. He didn’t get flashy but he was efficient and kept the offense rolling.

We also got to see Drew Allar and Christian Veilleux as they entered the game for some reps in the fourth quarter. No turnovers from any of them, perfect execution start to finish in today’s game.

NEXT: Running backs

Running Backs

Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: A+

39 rushing attempts for 245 yards against one of the better defensive front sevens in the SEC. Keyvone Lee went down with a knee injury early in the first quarter but freshmen Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen took the torch and ran with it, literally.

Singleton especially had two large homerun type runs resulting in touchdowns. He now in his last two games has 20 carries for 304 yards and four touchdowns. The run game for Penn State is now fully established and thriving.

NEXT: Receivers and tight ends

Receivers

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Grade: B-

The receivers did not have the greatest game but they made plays when they needed to. Parker Washington was absent again from the game plan and it appears that Sean Clifford has a new top receiver in Mitchell Tinsley. They have a strong connection and when a play is needed that seems to be who he targets.

As for the tight ends,Theo Johnson returned and played a big part in handling the dominant edge rushers for Auburn. Brenton Strange played a big part in the passing game. The tight ends are what saved this grade from being lower, they had the second largest impact on the game offensively outside of the running backs.

NEXT: Defense

Defense

Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: A+

Two fumbles forced, two interceptions, 11 tackles for a loss, and six sacks. This defense has never looked more dominant than it did today. They were flying all over, played controlled, and looked like a primed version of what you expect out of a Manny Diaz. This defense can keep this team in any game all year. Ohio State, Michigan, or Maryland, they all will have issues at some point with this defense. Because of that Penn State has a chance to beat all of them and have a special season.

NEXT: Special Teams

Special Teams

Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: A

Not a lot of need for the special team’s today but what we saw was reassuring. The coverage on punts was phenomenal including Barney Amorputting two out of his three punts inside Auburn’s twenty-yard line. From a kicking perspective Jake Pinegar was two for two with field goals including a 48-yard field goal in the third quarter.

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