Penn State rapid reaction: Nittany Lions 31, Maryland 14 (Maryland Stadium) – PennLive

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Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson goes in for a 38-yard touchdown catch and run as Maryland defensive back Nick Cross defends during the first quarter on Nov. 6, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com
Jahan Dotson led the Big Ten in receiving yards last season with 844.
He tore up Ohio State for 144 yards and three touchdowns in 2020.
And Penn State’s veteran wideout is even better this year.
Substantially better.
James Franklin’s No. 22 Nittany Lions snapped a three-game losing streak, and became bowl eligible, by beating Big Ten East rival Maryland 31-14 Saturday at Maryland Stadium.
And it could not have happened without Dotson, who racked up a career-high 242 yards and three touchdowns. His 86-yard catch-and-run score with 13:55 to play, broke a 14-14 tie. The 242 yards is also a single-game record at Penn State. Dotson finished with 11 catches on 15 targets. The receiver has 932 yards in nine games.
Dotson caught the pass from Sean Clifford at the Penn State 35 and easily outraced Maryland pursuit.
Dotson added a 45-yard catch later in the game to set up Jordan Stout’s 24-yard field goal with 6:33 left to make it 24-14.
Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown sealed the win by intercepting a Taulia Tagovailoa throw and returning it 87 yards for a touchdown with 2:39 to play.
Clifford finished with 363 passing yards. Penn State (6-3) is now 15-1 all-time vs. Maryland (5-4) in College Park.
More on Dotson’s day: The Lions’ offense was stymied for long stretches but the Lions’ top wideout came through in big spots, catching touchdown passes of 38 and 21 yards. Dotson’s second scoring grab, a 21-yarder down the middle with 6:51 left in the third quarter, capped a 14-play drive that extended Penn State’s lead to 14-6.
PSU passing game produces lone first-half score on third possession: Clifford was a bit erratic early, going just 1-for-5 for minus-seven yards. He also missed on throws to wideout KeAndre Lambert-Smith and running back John Lovett that could have went for big games. But the veteran QB got his act together on Penn State’s third possession, going 2-for-2 on the Lions’ four-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Clifford connected with Lambert-Smith for 30 yards on a second-and-nine play from the PSU 26 and two plays later, Clifford and Dotson teamed up for a 38-yard score down the left side. Dotson beat Maryland safety Nick Cross with a double move, breaking inside early and then heading up the field for the touchdown catch with 7:55 left in the first quarter.
Penn State wildcat formation fails: The Lions could not convert a fourth-and-one from the Maryland 33 early in the second quarter. Tight end Tyler Warren, the Lions’ wildcat runner, was stopped for no gain.
Penn State injury trouble up front: Lions defensive tackle Derrick Tangelo left the game with an unspecified injury in the first quarter and returned later in the first half. … PSU defensive end Jesse Luketa did not play, forcing the Lions to use Zuriah Fisher early in the game.
Miscellaneous: Lions safeties Ji’Ayir Brown and Jaquan Brisker were both called for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after Brown recovered a Maryland fumble at the PSU 12. Two half-the-distance flags positioned the Lions at the Maryland 3. … Penn State fan favorite John O’Neill was the referee on Saturday. … Bryce Effner spelled Eric Wilson at left guard in the first half. … Devyn Ford rejoined the Lions’ running back rotation. He was out with an unspecified injury since the early stages of the Iowa game. … Lions safety Jaquan Brisker made a brief visit to the injury tent in the first quarter and returned. … Former Penn State defensive end Odafe Oweh, a 2021 first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens, was on the Lions’ sideline on Saturday. Former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley was also in attendance.
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