UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. –Running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley combined for 283 of Penn State’s 372 rushing yards to lead the Nittany Lions past Maryland, 38-14, in Big Ten football action Saturday in Beaver Stadium.
It was Penn State’s most prolific rushing game against an FBS or Big Ten opponent since posting 390 against Michigan State in 2002, and the 372 yards rank as its third-most against a Big Ten opponent.
Barkley posted a career-high 202 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 31 carries to lead Penn State (4-2, 2-1 B1G), while McSorley set career highs on the ground with 18 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown. He also added two more touchdowns through the air, including a 70-yarder to DeAndre Thompkins, and finished the game completing 10-of-19 attempts for 152 yards.
The Nittany Lions essentially flipped the script on offense. Entering the contest, Penn State was only averaging 108.2 yards rushing per game while Maryland was averaging 300.0, but the Lions held the Terrapins to just 170 yards on the ground. Maryland was also averaging 466.2 yards of total offense to Penn State’s 365.0, but the Nittany Lions held the advantage in the category, 524-270. Maryland was also averaging 43.2 points per game and just 14.5 points allowed.
Penn State’s 524 yards of total offense was its most since 2013 against Eastern Michigan (574). Penn State ran 81 plays to Maryland’s 54. A total of 62 of Penn State’s plays were on the ground – it’s the most ever in a Big Ten game.
Penn State never trailed, receiving the opening kickoff and marching 84 yards on seven plays for an eventual 5-yard touchdown reception by tight end Mike Gesicki, largely on the feet of Barkley and McSorley. A short pass from Maryland quarterback Perry Hills to Ty Johnson turned into a 66-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 7-7 midway through the first quarter, but a Tyler Davis field goal and rushing touchdowns by McSorley and Barkley overcame Maryland’s only other score in the second quarter, and the Lions never looked back from a 24-14 halftime lead.
Maryland looked to have the momentum moving into the halftime break after covering 37 yards on three plays for a touchdown, pulling within three points and leaving just 41 seconds on the clock after the kickoff. However, Saquon Barkley needed only three plays to cover 70 yards. He rushed for 25 yards on his first carry and was stuffed for no gain on the next, but he broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run on the next to give Penn State a 24-14 lead. The Nittany Lions shutout Maryland in the second half and added two more touchdowns.
- QB Trace McSorley – McSorley totaled 233 yards of total offense and accounted for three touchdowns. He gained a career-high 81 yards on a career-high 18 carries with one touchdown, while also throwing a 70-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Thompkins and a 5-yard touchdown pass to Mike Gesicki. McSorley completed 10-of-19 passed for 152 yards. Four of McSorley’s carries were for 12 or more yards, including a long of 25, and his 81 rushing yards were the most by a Penn State QB since Daryll Clark rushed for 83 against Illinois in 2009.
- RB Saquon Barkley – Barkley received a career-high 31 carries for 202 yards and a 45-yard touchdown. Six of his carries went for 13 or more yards.
- LB Brandon Smith – Smith came off the bench to make a career-high 14 tackles and his first career interception.
- WR DeAndre Thompkins – Matched his career high with four receptions and set a career high with 91 yards receiving, including a career-best 70-yard touchdown grab.
- Penn State Defense – Ten different Nittany Lions combined for 10.0 tackles for loss. Linebacker Koa Farmer, who made his first career start, led with 1.5 TFLs, a forced fumble and a sack. Also contributing to the Lions’ total of four sacks were defensive ends Evan Schwan and Garrett Sickels and defensive tackle Kevin Givens. Twenty-eight different Nittany Lions made a tackle.
- RB Lorenzo Harrison – Harrison led Maryland with 76 yards rushing on six carries, including a 44-yard run.
- RB Ty Johnson – Johnson had a 66-yard touchdown reception.
- LB Shane Cockerille – Cockerille led Maryland with 13 tackles, including one for loss, and also batted down a pass to force a punt.