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Clifford and Dotson Lead Penn State Over Maryland, 31-14

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND– Penn State needed a win Saturday in College Park, and although it was hairy at times, the Nittany Lions got the job done with a 31-14 win.

Led by Jahan Dotson, who caught 11 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns, and Sean Clifford, who had 363 yards passing with three TD’s and no interceptions, the Nittany Lions (6-3, 3-3) became bowl eligible.

After going three and out in each of its first two possessions, Penn State’s offense came alive on drive No. 3, driving 75 yards on four plays in just 1:33 to draw first blood. Two plays after Clifford hit KeAndre Lambert-Smith for 30 yards, he finished the drive with a 38-yard strike to a wide-open Janan Dotson. Jordan Stout’s extra point was good, and Penn State led, 7-0. The Nittany Lions kept that 7-0 advantage into the second quarter.

Maryland (5-4, 2-4) tied the game on its last possession of the first half, driving 86 yards in 1:41. Challen Faamatau capped the drive with a two-yard score. 

A missed extra point allowed Penn State to cling to a one-point lead at the halftime break. 

Penn State drove 95 yards on its first second-half possession to make it 14-6. Clifford hit Dotson again from 21 yards

Maryland drove the ball down to Penn State’s 10, but Ji’Ayir Brown recovered a fumbled snap to give Penn State the ball back. 

Penn State held its 14-6 lead into the final quarter. On the first play of the fourth period, Tagovailoa hit Corey Dyches for a 13-yard score and then hit Corey Dyches to tie the game on the two-point conversion attempt. 

Things looked dark for Penn State when Maryland tied it and darker still when Sean Clifford took an eight-yard sack to start the ensuing possession. But on the next play, he hit Dotson for the third time, this one from 86 yards, and the Nittany Lions were back ahead.

Maryland wouldn’t score the rest of the evening. Jordan Stout hit a 24-yard field goal with 6:33 left to put the Lions up by two scores, and Brown’s pick-six with 2:39 left sealed the game. 

For Maryland, Taulia Tagovailoa completed 39 passes in 54 attempts with a touchdown and an interception, respectively. 

Also for Maryland, tight end Chig Okonkwo caught 11 balls for 81 yards. 

Penn State is now 6-2 against Maryland since the Terps joined the Big 10, and haven’t lost in College Park or M&T Bank Stadium in that time. The last three times Penn State has played at Maryland, the Nittany Lions are 3-0 and have outscored the Terps 156-17 combined in those games. 

Maryland will try again to become bowl eligible next week at Michigan State, and Penn State will try for two in a row next Saturday when Michigan comes to Happy Valley. Kickoff times for both of those games have yet to be decided. 

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