Penn State holds off Auburn, moves to 3-0

UNIVERSITY PARK – It’s difficult for whiteout games to equal all the accompanying hype, but Saturday night’s Penn State-Auburn matchup did just that.

The No. 10 Nittany Lions improved to 3-0 by holding off their game SEC opponent for a 28-20 victory before 109,958, the 10th largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history.

Auburn fell to 2-1.

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford completed 28-of-32 for 280 yards and two touchdowns, and standout receiver Jahan Dotson caught 10 passes for 78 yards and one score.

The Nittany Lions trailed early twice (3-0 and 10-7) before taking a 14-10 lead at halftime that they never relinquished, even though Auburn kept knocking on the door – right up until the final seconds ticked off the clock.

Penn State took advantage of an Auburn fumble early in the third quarter, giving the Lions possession for a short field, and tight end Tyler Warren scored on a 2-yard run, lifting the Lions up 21-10.

Auburn, however, immediately answered by driving 75 yards on 15 plays, mostly on the ground, and pulled within 21-17 on Tank Bigsby’s 6-yard touchdown followed by Ander Carlson’s 43-yard field goal that made it 21-20 with 14:55 remaining.

Clifford then hit four straight passes, including a 40-yarder to tight end Brenton Strange to set up Noah Cain’s 3-yard touchdown that set the final score.

Auburn drove to the Penn State 2 with four minutes to remaining, but the Lions’ defense rejected the Tigers’ last two possessions.

The Mirror will have a full report and analysis in Monday’s Penn State Extra.

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