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Balanced Offensive Attack Leads Penn State Past Ball State in Home Opener

Following a season-opening win in which the offense wasn’t in-sync, things were different for Sean Clifford and his group, as a balanced attack propelled No. 11 Penn State (2-0) to a 44-13 win over Ball State in front of 105,323 fans at Beaver Stadium.

Clifford finished the game 21-of-29 for 230 yards passing, two TD’s (one passing and one rushing) and also was effective with his legs running 11 times for 66 yards. The senior quarterback used all of his weapons on offense as he completed passes to 10 different Nittany Lions. Leading the way was star again was star wide receiver Jahan Dotson, who finished with five catches for 65 yards and a TD. Parker Washington caught six passes for 57 yards, while running back Noah Cain chipped in three catches for 30 yards.

After the defense held the Ball State offense to a three and out to open the game, the Nittany Lions offense found the end zone on their first drive. A 13-play drive, 78 yard drive (nine rushes and four passes) was capped off by a 5-yard TD run by Cain. The junior from Baton Rouge, Louisiana was instrumental in that drive as he carried the ball five times to go along with a catch for 15 yards.

The same formula yielded pay dirt on the second possession. Brent Pry’s unit forced a three and out and then the offense went to work. An 8-play, 76 yard drive ended with a 1-yard quarterback sneak. Highlights of the drive included a 23 yard pass from Clifford to Washington, along with a 24 yard catch by running back Keyvone Lee.

Both teams then exchanged field goals to make the score 17-3 and then the Penn State offense got back to work near the end of the first half when Clifford hooked up with Dotson for a 25-yard touchdown.

Ball State’s Jake Chanove connected on a 23-yard field goal right before the end of the half with Penn State leading 24-6.

The Penn State defense iced the game with six minutes left in the 3rd quarter when linebacker Jesse Luketa picked off Cardinal quarterback Drew Plitt and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown and Penn State stretched their lead to 31-6. Later in the 4th quarter, cornerback Daequan Hardy intercepted his first pass of the season for Penn State’s second turnover of the game.

Penn State’s reserves closed out the scoring for the game as backup quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson hooked up with tight end Theo Johnson for a 23-yard touchdown.

Today’s win was Penn State’s 13th consecutive win over a non-Power Five opponent.

Next up for Penn State will be a big non-conference game under the lights against No. 25 Auburn. Kickoff from Beaver Stadium is set for 7:30 PM.

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