GAMEDAY College Football

Penn State 33, Central Michigan 14

(AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - James Franklin took a few moments to look over the stats after his team's latest win.

Franklin's No. 14 Nittany Lions beat Central Michigan in nearly every column, but after Penn State's 33-14 win, Franklin wasn't satisfied.

"In terms of the critical areas, I wouldn't say it felt like this, but we won all of them," Franklin said.

Sean Clifford completed 22 of 34 passes for 217 yards and accounted for four touchdowns for the Nittany Lions, who forced four turnovers to keep the game out of reach.

The Chippewas were still able to drive the ball on the ground and in the air, racking up 363 yards. Mistakes kept them out of the end zone for much of the day, however.

Tight end Brenton Strange caught two touchdowns and wideout Mitchell Tinsley caught one. Clifford and Kaytron Allen added touchdown runs for the Nittany Lions (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) who steadily pulled away.

Penn State players were hoping for something more demonstrative with Northwestern up next and a trip to No. 4 Michigan looming on Oct. 15.

"There's a certain standard in this program," defensive tackle PJ Mustipher said. "I told the guys after the game that we've got to come out hot, we've got to come out better."

Penn State's offense did that.

Clifford marched Penn State down the field and hit Tinsley over the middle from 5 yards out to start the scoring. He got another shot on a short field when Zakee Wheatley picked off Daniel Richardson on Central Michigan's eighth play of the day and returned it to the Chippewa 15.

Clifford needed just three plays from there to find Strange on a 4-yard quick out that made it 14-0.

The Chippewas (1-3) got their offense going in the second quarter. Richardson capped an 11-play drive by hitting Finn Hogan over the middle from two yards out to make it 14-7.

Central Michigan forced a turnover on downs moments later and Richardson found open receivers again. He ended a 9-play, 67-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Joel Wilson that tied it at 14.

Scoreless possessions followed before the Nittany Lions retook the lead with a 14-yard touchdown run from Allen. Penn State led 21-14 at halftime.

The Chippewas turned the ball over again to start the second half.

They forced the Nittany Lions to punt on their first third-quarter possession but return man Jordyn Williams fumbled the ball to Penn State's Curtis Jacobs inside the 10.

Two plays later, Clifford found Strange for another short touchdown toss. Central Michigan blocked Jake Pinegar's extra point try, but Penn State's 27-14 lead was enough.

"I'm proud of the way our team fought," Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain said. "I thought the guys never quit. That team on the other side knew what the Chippewas were all about toward the end of that game and that's something that makes me proud."

A 1-yard run from Clifford before a failed two-point conversion try early in the fourth made it 33-14.

Richardson finished 26-for-45 for 235 yards. Allen led Penn State with 111 yards on 13 carries.


Mustipher thanked punter Barney Amor for "being him" earlier this week.

Amor has emerged as one of the country's best legs so far. He averaged 45 yards per punt against the Chippewas and pinned them inside their own 10 three times.

"I love what Barney does," Jacobs said. "He's a huge part of the team."


Central Michigan: The Chippewas were able to move the ball, but mistakes stopped them in their tracks. In addition to the four turnovers, two first-quarter dropped passes forced them to punt while a bad offensive pass interference penalty in the third wiped out a chance to get in the end zone. A holding penalty in the fourth negated what would've been a 28-yard touchdown.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions shuffled a lot of players in and out of the lineup on Saturday. While they gave up 363 total yards, the Nittany Lions tightened up in the red zone and took advantage of their opponents' errors. Offensively, the Nittany Lions were efficient and mistake free.

Scoring Summary
First Quarter CentMiPSU
PSU TD 8:42 Mitchell Tinsley 5 yd pass from Sean Clifford (Jake Pinegar kick) 0 7
PSU TD 6:38 Brenton Strange 4 yd pass from Sean Clifford (Jake Pinegar kick) 0 14
Second Quarter CentMiPSU
CentMi TD 12:39 Finn Hogan 2 yd pass from Daniel Richardson (Josh Rolston kick) 7 14
CentMi TD 6:25 Joel Wilson 14 yd pass from Daniel Richardson (Josh Rolston kick) 14 14
PSU TD 1:58 Kaytron Allen 14 yd run (Jake Pinegar kick) 14 21
Third Quarter CentMiPSU
PSU TD 11:55 Brenton Strange 3 yd pass from Sean Clifford (blocked XP) 14 27
Fourth Quarter CentMiPSU
PSU TD 14:43 Sean Clifford 1 yd run (failed 2pt pass) 14 33
Team Stats
  Central Michigan Penn State
First downs 20 21
  Rushing 6 9
  Passing 12 11
  Penalty 2 1
3rd Down Efficiency 5-15, 33% 5-13, 38%
4th down efficiency 3-5, 60% 2-3, 67%
Rushes-Yards 23-88 32-166
Passing Yards 275 237
Return Yards 44 72
Completions-Attempts-Int 29-52-2 24-39-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 2--17 1--6
Punts 4 4
Punts-Average 44.5 44.5
Fumbles Lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties - Yards 8-80 5-45
Time of Possession 29:33 30:27
Central Michigan Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
D. Richardson 26 45 235 2 2
J. Bauer 3 7 40 0 0
Penn State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
S. Clifford 22 34 217 3 0
D. Allar 2 5 20 0 0
Central Michigan Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
L. Nichols III 13 67 5.2 0
M. Bailey 1 10 10.0 0
M. Lukes 2 9 4.5 0
J. Bauer 3 8 2.7 0
J. Wilson 1 2 2.0 0
D. Richardson 3 -8 -2.7 0
Penn State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
K. Allen 13 111 8.5 1
N. Singleton 12 42 3.5 0
S. Clifford 5 23 4.6 1
D. Allar 1 -6 -6.0 0
Central Michigan Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
C. Carriere 11 111 10.1 0
J. Wilson 5 59 11.8 1
N. Koenigsknecht 3 41 13.7 0
M. Bailey 1 20 20.0 0
L. Nichols III 4 16 4.0 0
K. Brewer III 1 10 10.0 0
M. Lukes 1 10 10.0 0
F. Hogan 2 8 4.0 1
J. McGaughy 1 0 0.0
Penn State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
P. Washington 6 64 10.7 0
M. Tinsley 4 51 12.8 1
B. Strange 5 42 8.4 2
H. Wallace III 2 39 19.5 0
L. Clifford 2 19 9.5 0
T. Johnson 1 11 11.0 0
K. Allen 1 7 7.0 0
K. Lambert-Smith 1 4 4.0 0
D. Ford 1 0 0.0
N. Singleton 1 0 0.0
Central Michigan Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Penn State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Z. Wheatley 1 34
J. Dixon 1 0
Central Michigan Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
L. Elzinga 4 178 44.5
Penn State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
B. Amor 4 178 44.5
Central Michigan Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
J. Williams 2 9 4.5
Penn State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
P. Washington 2 19 9.5
Central Michigan Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
I. Jackson 2 35 17.5
Penn State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
N. Singleton 1 19 19.0
Central Michigan Missed FG
Player Length
Penn State Missed FG
Player Length
S. Sahaydak 56
J. Pinegar 38