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Nittany Lions Knock off Auburn in Penn State White Out Game

Courtesy of PSU Athletics

Lions defeat second ranked opponent in first three games for the first time in program history


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 10/12 Penn State football team celebrated the annual Penn State White Out game with a 28-20 win over No. 22/20 Auburn on Saturday night.

The Nittany Lions have defeated two ranked opponents in their first three games of the season for the first time in program history. The win is Penn State’s first regular-season victory over an SEC opponent since the Nittany Lions defeated Alabama 9-0 in 1990.

Penn State’s high-powered offense was on display in this primetime contest, compiling 391 total yards in the game.

Quarterback Sean Clifford continued his fast start to the 2021 campaign, completing 28-33 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns.

Wide receiver Jahan Dotson corralled a career-high 10 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown in the contest. He has now reached the end zone in five consecutive games dating back to last season. Tight End Brenton Strange also put together a career-best performance, setting a new high mark with 71 yards on four catches and a touchdown.

The Penn State defense would seal the victory in the closing minutes, forcing Auburn to turn the ball over on downs at the Penn State two-yard line with 3:08remaining in the game. Brandon Smith paced the Nittany Lion defense with career-high 10 tackles.

The crowd of 109,958 was the ninth largest in Beaver Stadium history.


After Penn State turned the ball over on downs on its opening drive, Auburn got on the board first with a 45-yard field goal by Anders Carlson.

The Nittany Lions got the offense going on their third possession. Sean Clifford delivered two long passes to his tight ends on back-to-back plays, first a 23-yarder to Brenton Strange and then a 37-yarder to Theo Johnson to set Penn State up inside the five. Penn State would score on the next play when Clifford hit Jahan Dotson in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown to give Penn State a 7-3 lead.

Auburn would reclaim the lead on its ensuing drive on a 4-yard touchdown run by Tank Bigsby.

In the closing minutes of the second, Penn State would go on a 14-play, 91-yard drive to jump back in front. The long scoring drive was capped off by a 4-yard TD pass from Clifford to Strange to put the Nittany Lions ahead 14-10 at the half.

On the first play of the second half, a botched trick play by Auburn resulted in Derrick Tangelo falling on a loose ball to set Penn State up at the Auburn 20-yard line. The Nittany Lions would extend the lead on Tyler Warren’s first career rushing touchdown to give Penn State a 21-10 advantage.

Bigsby would reach the end zone for the second time in the game with 5:52 remaining in the third, when his 6-yard TD run cut the Penn State lead to 21-17. The Tigers would add three more on the first play of the fourth quarter when Carlson converted on a 43-yard field goal attempt.

Penn State would fire back on the following drive, highlighted by a 40-yard connection between Clifford and Strange that put the Nittany Lions inside the five. Noah Cain wain would find the end zone for the third time this season with a 5-yard TD run to give Penn State a 28-20 lead.

The Nittany Lion defense would put the finishing touches on the victory, forcing Auburn to turn the ball over on downs at the Penn State three-yard line with 3:08 remaining in the game.


Penn State will be back at Beaver Stadium next Saturday for a noon contest against Villanova.


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