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Grading PSU wins first week at Purdue

To say Penn State’s season opener at Purdue was a roller coaster of emotions would be an understatement. A game is a way to start a new college football season, with seven major changes decided in the last minute of the game. Penn State managed to top Purdue in a 35-31 win Thursday night to jump early on the Week 1 schedule.

Now comes the fun part; performance appraisal.

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Let’s go through postgame report cards to evaluate Penn State’s season start for the 2022 season.


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Grade: B+

On a night when your starting quarterback turns in four passing touchdowns and runs for another and leads the drive of the game in the clutch, it’s incredibly hard to be too rigid with evaluations. Was it a great game from Sean Clifford? not at all. Clifford passed for 282 yards and four touchdowns, including a 67-yard pass to Brenton Strange at the end of the first half to raise the stats slightly, and he completed 20 attempts for 37 passes. He also badly overthrew Mitchell Tinsley in the fourth quarter, who was picked up and returned for a Purdue touchdown to take the lead in the fourth quarter.

But you get credit for toughness and courage in this situation. We can’t give an “a” here, but it’s close to the circumstances.

In the third quarter, Drew Ellar played a series in place of Clifford. He completed two of his four pass attempts for 26 yards and showed a solid hand. But he was clearly a fresh start on the road to a tough spot. His time will come.

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