Penn State falls to 0-3 vs. Maryland: 3 takeaways from the game

Maryland beats Penn State for just the third time in program history. Going into the season Penn State was ranked No. 8 in the AP Top 25 Poll. After this loss, they may end up unranked. Penn State suffered an embarrassing loss to the hands of Maryland. A game in which they were heavily favored in, despite coming off of two straight losses. The final score ended up being 35-19 due to a late touchdown, but it was nowhere near that close. There can be many conclusions drawn from this game, but I’ll try to narrow it down to to three.

Maryland shuts down Penn State’s running game:
Going into the game, Maryland had the last ranked rushing defense. That did not look like the case in this game. Penn State’s backs combined for just 68 yards. Devyn Ford carried it nine times for just 36 yards. That’s just 4.0 yards per carry. Caziah Holmes carried it nine times for just 29 yards, which is 3.2 yards per carry. Maryland also contained Sean Clifford, he rushed it 17 times for only 26 yards. With Journey Brown & Noah Cain gone, Penn State knew they were going to have to lean on some inexperienced guys. So far, it isn’t working. And bad offensive line play only makes it worse.

Sean Clifford continues to struggle:
The mistakes continue to build up for Penn State QB Sean Clifford. He went into the game with three interceptions on the year. He came out with another two interceptions. That didn’t necessarily hurt the team, as the game was probably over by then. However, that’s not the only issue Sean Clifford has. He was sacked seven times today by Maryland’s defense. That was a culmination of bad offensive line play, but also holding onto the ball for too long. An issue that continues to hurt Clifford and the Penn State offense. He also only completed 47.4% of his passes. That’s abysmal. Whether it’s accuracy issues or bad mechanics, this issue has to be fixed.

Passing defense looked nonexistent:
Maryland deserves credit here. They simply outplayed Penn State at every facet of the game. On defense, I can’t remember a catch that Maryland made easy for Penn State. They were up on Penn State’s receivers on almost every play. This can not be said for Penn State’s defense. Rakim Jarrett single handily tore up Penn State’s defense. On the first drive, he turned an eight-yard slant into a 42 yard TD. On the very next drive, he did almost the same thing and turned it into a 62 yard TD. Jarrett ended up with 144 receiving yards on the day. Yards after catch was an issue for Penn State’s defense today. Lack of effort and missed tackles is a recipe for disaster, no matter who’s on the other side.

I could make a lengthy list of honorable mentions if I decided to. Ultimately, Penn State looked outmatched today. It’ll be tough for James Franklin to draw any positive conclusions from today’s game. And that is not a good look for a team who had hopes of competing in the playoffs.

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