Stevens handoff shows another trick play from Moorhead
COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State’s 66-3 victory over Maryland on Saturday at Maryland Stadium:
Play of the game: Joe Moorhead used a little trickeration early as Tommy Stevens took a handoff from Trace McSorley, faked a reverse to Saquon Barkley, and ran 21 yards for a touchdown to open the scoring.
Offensive player of the game: Stevens rushed 12 times for 113 yards and three touchdowns, and completed 3-of-7 passes for 11 yards and another TD.
Defensive player of the game: Lion freshman cornerback Tariq-Castro Fields made four tackles, including one for loss, and forced a fumble.
Most telling statistic: Maryland converted just one of 18 third- and fourth-down opportunities — 1-15 on third down and 0-3 on fourth down.
Most deceiving statistic: There wasn’t much deception but since we have this category, let’s use the Terps completing 21 of 37 passes.
Hidden statistic: Maryland lost its poise in the second half and committed six of its eight penalties for 73 yards after intermission.
Best run: On his 5-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, which extended the PSU lead to 14-0, McSorley appeared to be stopped at the goal line but kept his legs churning for the score.
Best pass: Stevens gunned a 4-yard touchdown pass on a slant route to Tom Pancoast, extending the Lions’ lead to 52-0 with 2:37 left in the third quarter.
Worst pass: Maryland receiver D.J. Moore completed it to Jahrvis Davenport, granted, but his reckless, over-the-shoulder, here-you-take-it attempt while he was being snowed under resulted in a 6-yard loss in the first quarter.
Best catch: With one hand, Mike Gesicki reeled in a 9-yard touchdown in the second quarter, extending the Lions’ lead to 28-0.
Catch it, will ya: The Lions scored 66, but their receivers dropped five balls. Irv Charles, off a one-game suspension, returned to drop a pair. Miles Sanders, Brandon Polk and Saeed Blacknall added one each.
Hold it, won’t ya: Penn State did not fumble. In fact, its six fumbles during the regular season is on pace to set a new school record for fewest fumbles in a season, previously held by the 2001 team (eight). Through 12 games, the Lions have lost only two fumbles.
Best tackle: On fourth-and-1, with the Lions up 14-0 late in the first quarter, PSU linebacker Jason Cabinda stopped Jake Funk, forcing a chance of possession.
Best block: DeAndre Thompkins continued his excellent downfield blocking, this time sealing the edge and paving Stevens’ game-opening score.
Best hit: Maryland corner Antwaine Richardson drilled Polk following a second-quarter completion, but Polk held on.
Best kick: Maryland’s Henry Darmstadter kicked a 42-yard field goal to get the Terps on the board (52-3) with 1:01 left in the third quarter.
Worst kick(s): Maryland’s Wade Lees shanked a 27-yard punt on his first attempt and averaged 28.5 on his first two punts.
Best call: Protecting a 28-0 lead, on fourth-and-4 from midfield, Brent Pry ordered up a corner blitz, and Grant Haley sacked Maryland quarterback Max Bortenschlager for a 2-yard loss.
Worst call: Down 14-0 at its own 44 late in the first quarter, Maryland faced fourth-and-1. It could have punted and tried to flip field position but it went for it, was stuffed, and five plays later, Penn State took a 21-0 lead, effectively ending the game.
Best effort: Lions’ special teams ace Josh McPhearson made three solo tackles and forced a fumble.
Unsung hero: Hollidaysburg’s Zach Simpson, the Lions’ backup center, entered in the second quarter after an injury to Connor McGovern and handled the center duties in, well, a snap. McGovern returned for the third quarter.