Sean Clifford overcame second-half struggles, along with a knee injury to connect on a pass to Keyvone Lee with 57 seconds left to lead Penn State to a 35-31 victory over Purdue at Ross-Aide Stadium in a thrilling game that featured six lead changes.
Purdue got on the board first on Purdue’s second drive of the game Purdue went on a ten-play, 73-yard drive that led to a 36-yard field goal by Mitchell Fineran that was highlighted by a 29-yard catch from Charlie jones from Aiden O’Connell. Earlier on the drive, Joey Porter Jr. had an interception slip through his hands, and get into the hands of T.J. Sheffield.
Penn State struck back on a 12-play, 79-yard drive when Sean Clifford connected with Mitchell Tinsley on a 12-yard touchdown reception to put Penn State up 7-3. This drive was highlighted by a 12-yard pass to Devin Ford on a 4th and two on the Purdue 29.
Purdue struck back on the ensuing dive on a King Doerue 3-yard run that capped off an 8-play, 75-yard drive, which was highlighted by a targeting penalty by freshman linebacker Abdul Carter and a pass interference penalty on Johnny Dixon.
Penn State scored on a 2-yard touchdown run by Clifford, which was aided by a Brendon Strange push towards the goal line to conclude an 8-play, 43-yard drive that featured six runs to two passes. The drive was aided by Lawrence Johnson’s roughing the passer penalty on Clifford.
On a drive towards the end of the first half, as Purdue was near the red zone. Zakee Wheatley forced a fumble by T.J. Sheffield recovered by Joey Porter Jr. to keep the Boilermakers off the board.
On the ensuing drive before the half, Clifford connected on a 66-yard pass to Brendon Strange for a touchdown to make the score 21-10 at the half.
Purdue received the ball to start the second half and went on a nine-play, 75-yard drive capped on a two-yard run by Doerue, which was featured a 22-yard completion to Charlie Jones and an 18-yard pass to Broc Thompson.
Freshman Drew Allar came into the game to start the second half after Clifford got injured on the hit by Johnson. Clifford came back into the game on Penn State’s next possession.
Purdue took the lead back on an 8-yard touchdown catch from O’Connell to Jones on a 10-play, 85-yard drive that featured a 26-yard completion to Marshawn Rice, a 14-yard completion for Sheffield, and a 23-yard completion on a 4th and 1 on the Penn State 30.
Penn State went back on top with a 29-yard catch and run by Ke’Andre Lembert-Smith that capped off a 4-play, 55-yard drive that featured a gutsy throw by Clifford to Mitchell Tinsley for 17 yards and a first down.
Purdue took the lead back on an interception return by Chris Jefferson on an overthrow by Sean Clifford on a pass intended for Tinsley to put the Boilermakers up 31-28.
Lee put Penn State back on top for the game-winning touchdown on a 10-yard touchdown catch on an 8-play, 80-yard drive that featured a 27-yard reception by Tinsley on a drive that took a minute and 25 seconds.
This game was highlighted by defensive holding calls and pass interference on both teams. Abdul Carter was ejected for targeting in the first quarter.
Penn State will have its home opener against Ohio next Saturday, Sept. 10 while Purdue will host Indiana State next Saturday.