Penn State highlights-lowlights
By Neil Rudel
UNIVERSITY PARK — Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State’s 56-0 victory over Georgia State on Saturday night at Beaver Stadium:
Play of the game: On third-and-12 from the Lions’ 15, Trace McSorley rolled right and turned back to find Saquon Barkley in the left flat. Barkley did the rest, beating Georgia State defenders who had the angle and blazing 85 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 49 seconds left in the first quarter.
Offensive player of the game: McSorley completed 18-of-23 for 309 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed three times for 24 yards and another TD.
Defensive player of the game: Penn State linebacker Manny Bowen made a team-high six tackles, including a sack.
Most telling statistic: The Lions’ defense forced five turnovers.
Most deceiving statistic: Georgia State won time of possession in the first half, 38:47-21:07.
Hidden statistic: Georgia State converted 11-of-21 third downs.
Best run: See play of the game. First runnerup: Miles Sanders scored on a 29-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that pushed the Lions up 28-0.
Best pass: PSU backup quarterback Tommy Stevens took a shot but hung in the pocket and delivered an 35-yard touchdown pass to Saeed Blacknall in the third quarter.
Worst pass: Georgia State quarterback Conner Manning underthrew the sideline and was intercepted there a couple of times, the second by Tariq Castro-Fields in the third quarter.
Best catch: Let’s give it to Penn State safety Marcus Allen, who jumped for his first career interception and returned it 50 yards to the Georgia State 25 in the second quarter.
Best return: Barkley returned the opening kickoff 37 yards in his usual spectacular fashion.
Catch it, will ya: Georgia State obviously wasn’t going to win this game, but Kyler Neal’s drop at the Lion 40 on third-and-4 cost the Panthers a first down and would have extended a possession down 14-0. PSU’s Brandon Polk dropped a flat pass in the third quarter.
Hold it, won’t ya: For the second straight week, the Lions inserted a backup tailback, and he fumbled on his first carry. This time it was Andre Robinson.
Best tackle: Shareef Miller sacked Manning in the third quarter and forced a fumble that was recovered by Altoona’s Kevin Givens.
Best block: Lion guard Steven Gonzalez plowed out the Georgia State defense to free Sanders’ TD run.
Best hit: Stevens jolted an official in the fourth quarter, ramming him into a Georgia State linebacker, who knocked him down.
Best kick: Georgia State punter Oliver Holdenson flipped field position by getting a 39-yarder to die at the Penn State 1, pinning the Lions in an early hole.
Worst kick: Tyler Davis missed a 39-yard field goal at the end of the first half.
Best call: Stevens went in motion for a fake handoff, then caught pass in the right flat that he turned into a 10-yard touchdown that opened the scoring on PSU’s first possession.
Worst call: On fourth-and-1 with 11 seconds to go, James Franklin, obviously intent on preserving a shutout, called timeout to ice Georgia State kicker Brandon Wright, who was lining up for a 31-yard field goal. It worked as Wright missed, but it felt wrong.
Best effort: DaeSean Hamilton extended himself and dove to the pylon from 4 yards out to complete a 27-yard touchdown pass that pushed the Lions up 21-0 in the second quarter.
Unsung hero(es): Attendance was listed at 102,746, strong considering the late start and rentable opponent.