By Andre Monroe
Auburn, AL – The Penn State Nittany Lions get an exciting win in their first matchup against the SEC this season. With the 41-12 victory over Auburn, Penn State becomes the first team to play at and win in Jordan-Hare stadium. Like the first two games, Penn State won with a balanced approach that included some exciting plays from newcomers.
Auburn won the toss and deferred to the second half. The Penn State Nittany Lions began by moving the ball down to midfield. On a third and long, Sean Clifford scrambled towards the first down marker but would take a big hit by Auburn LB Owen Pappoe. Sean Clifford stayed in the game but fell short on 4th down after a QB sneak attempt.
Auburn would take advantage of the field position, getting into the red zone after a pair of long runs by RB Tank Bigsby. Fortunately for Penn State, LB Curtis Jacobs forced a field goal attempt with a sack on QB TJ Finley. The kick was good, and Auburn would go up 3-0.
Like they’ve done so far this season, Penn State would answer in a big way. Keyvone Lee, the starter at RB, would go down on the first play after a gain of two. Kaytron Allen would pick up the slack with an electric 17-yard run to give Penn State the needed momentum. The Nittany Lions kept their foot on the pedal. Sean Clifford connected with Mitchell Tinsely on two passes for 48 yards, then capped it with a seven-yard rushing touchdown of his own.
The quarter would end with Penn State up, 7-3.
The following drives by Penn State and Auburn would both end scoreless. Pressure by Jaylen Reed would force a TJ Finley interception to Zakee Wheatley, but the ensuing Penn State drive would end in a punt. The Auburn Tigers would make it into the red zone on the next series after a few heroic plays by TJ Finley. We saw him convert two long third downs, one being a 24-yard pass to Landon King, the other being an 18-yard rush to move the chains. However, Penn State would stand tall again at the goal line, and Auburn would convert a short field goal. Penn State 7, Auburn 6.
The Nittany Lions responded with an 11-play, 68-yard series ending with a touchdown. We saw Sean Clifford net his first career reception on this drive on a lateral throwback that gained 25-yards. Kaytron Allen capped it off with his first career touchdown on a three-yard touchdown.
Auburn would get the ball back late, but a sack by Chop Robinson would halt the drive and conclude the first half. The half would end with Penn State up, 14-6.
Auburn received the ball to begin the second half. The possession wouldn’t last long, as Penn State DE Adisa Issac would sack TJ Finley on third down.
The ensuing drive by Penn State also wouldn’t last long but, unlike Auburn, would net great results. The first play would see an explosive 54-yard rush by Nick Singleton. The fan-favorite freshman solely willed Penn State to a touchdown this possession, as he followed this explosive run with a rushing touchdown two plays later. Penn State 21, Auburn 6.
The pressure from the Nittany Lion defense would mount. We saw disruption from multiple players on the front seven. It would end in a forced fumble by Chop Robinson with recovery from Ji’Ayir Brown. Penn State would take advantage, connecting on a field goal by Jake Pinegar. Penn State 24, Auburn 6.
The following Auburn drive would see Robby Ashford in at QB instead of TJ Finley. We saw Finley favor his shoulder before halftime after a sack from Chop Robinson and again after the turnover. Ashford would convert a fourth down but later would be picked off by Ji’Ayir Brown.
Penn State would capitalize on good field position with a six-yard touchdown rush by Kaytron Allen, his second on the day. Penn State 31, Auburn 6.
Robby Ashford brought some light to Auburn’s offense on the next drive. He would scramble for 28-yards on the ground and connect with Jarquez Hunter on a 22-yard touchdown pass to start the fourth quarter. Penn State 31, Auburn 12 (failed 2-pt conversion).
Nick Singleton, folks. There isn’t much more I can say about the kid. He makes a 54-yard touchdown rush look easy, pushing the dagger further in the hearts of all Auburn fans. Penn State 38, Auburn 12.
The rest of the game would be garbage time. We got another Drew Allar appearance, along with a Christian Veilleux appearance.
Penn State moves to 3-0 on the season and will likely move up in the national rankings. They return to Beaver Stadium next week to match up against Central Michigan for a noon kickoff.
Andre Monroe covers Penn State Football for Insider Institute. Follow him on Twitter @amonroe_ and Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.