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Rudel’s Villanova Highs & Lows

UNIVERSITY PARK — Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State’s 38-17 victory over Villanova on Saturday at Beaver Stadium:

Play of the game: Sean Clifford hit Jahan Dotson with a 52-yard touchdown reception on the Nittany Lions’ first play.

Offensive player of the game: Clifford wound up completing 19 of 26 for 401 yards and four touchdowns.

Defensive player of the game: Nit safety Ji’Ayir Brown made three tackles, including one for loss and intercepted a pass. He had a second interception canceled by penalty.

Most telling statistic: Lion receivers racked up 276 yards after the catch.

Most deceiving statistic: Penn State won despite rushing for just 80 yards.

Hidden statistic: The Lions subbed frequently and 26 players made at least one defensive play.

Best run: Given the Lions’ short-yardage struggles, let’s go with Tyler Warren’s 3-yard touchdown out of the wildcat on fourth-and-1 early in the fourth quarter, bumping Penn State’s lead to 38-3.

Best pass: Clifford zipped a 23-yard touchdown over the middle to Parker Washington, leading him perfectly to extend the Lions’ lead to 30-3 with 1:58 remaining in the third quarter.

Worst pass: Clifford had KeAndre Lambert-Smith open over the middle early but airmailed it.

Best catch: Dotson made a juggling reception, though it was for a 4-yard loss.

Catch it, will ya: Lambert-Smith’s bobble of a third-quarter reception resulted in a Villanova interception. Backup PSU receiver Marquis Wilson dropped one in the third quarter. In the second quarter, Penn State corner Johnny Dixon, a South Carolina transfer, dropped a pick-6 at midfield, with nothing but daylight in front of him.

Hold it, won’t ya: After Tank Smith’s late fumble was ruled down, the Nittany Lions don’t have a lost fumble this season.

Best tackle: Lion backup defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher sacked Villanova QB Daniel Smith in the third quarter.

Best block: Lambert-Smith did a nice job downfield to help escort a 67-yard pass-and-run to Washington in the second quarter.

Best hit: Brandon Smith decked Villanova’s Justin Covington for a 2-yard loss on the Wildcats’ second play.

Best kick: Stout put some hang time on a 38-yarder in the second quarter, pinning’Nova inside its 10.

Worst kick: Villanova punter Connor Watkins shanked a 15-yarder in the third quarter.

Best call: Penn State going up top on the Lion’s first play.

Worst call: The bubble screen to Washington on third down in the red zone was blown up in the second quarter, leading to a field goal.

Worst penalty: PSU offensive tackle Rasheed Walker was hit with a holding penalty on fourth-and-3, wiping out a reception that went for a first down and forcing a second-quarter punt.

Best effort: Wildcat linebacker Tyler Eldson made a game-high 11 tackles, including 2.5 for loss.

Unsung hero: Villanova’s Tyler Will was carted off on a stretcher on the second-half kickoff after a scary 10-minute delay that saw both teams taking a knee. Will suffered a concussion, but it was reported he was alert and full movement.

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