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College football: No. 12 Penn State blows out Maryland

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (14) scrambles with the ball against Maryland defensive back Nick Cross (3) during the first half on Friday in College Park, Md.
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (14) scrambles with the ball against Maryland defensive back Nick Cross (3) during the first half on Friday in College Park, Md.
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Sean Clifford threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns, ran for a score and carried No. 12 Penn State to yet another lopsided victory over Maryland, a 59-0 blowout Friday night that typified the one-sided nature of this regional series.

Penn State scored on its first four possessions, led 38-0 at halftime and finished with 619 yards in its Big Ten opener. After Jan Johnson got things started by ending Maryland’s first possession with an interception, Clifford cruised into the end zone from the 8 and the rout was on.

After halftime, most of fans remaining from a rare sellout crowd of 53,228 at Maryland were the several thousand cheering for the Nittany Lions (4-0, 1-0).

Because the Terrapins (2-2, 0-1) won their first two games at home by a combined 122 points and Penn State was coming off a tight 17-10 win over Pittsburgh, the Nittany Lions were favored by only a touchdown.

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But past performances held true. Penn State leads the series 40-2-1, winning the previous three by scores of 38-14, 66-3, 38-3 before adding this romp to the list.

Clifford threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to KJ Hamler for a 14-0 lead, connected with Nick Bowerson a 15-yarder to make it 28-0 and hit Journey Brown for 37 yards for a 35-point cushion.

After making his 14-for-30 performance against Pittsburgh a distant memory, Clifford remained on the sideline with 5:45 left in the third quarter and Penn State up 45-0.

Clifford, a redshirt sophomore, made his fourth start following the departure of standout Trace McSorley (now with the Ravens). Perhaps the only flaw in his 26-for-31 gem was his first career interception compared to 11 TD passes.

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Maryland, meanwhile, has regressed terribly after winning its first two games under coach Mike Locksley. The Terrapins were ranked No. 21 after beating then-No. 21 Syracuse on Sept. 7, but an ugly loss at Temple and this embarrassing defeat has left Locksley searching for answers.

Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson, who was so impressive during the first two weeks, has since struggled. His second pass of the night was picked off and he finished 10 for 21 for 65 yards and two interceptions.

The Terrapins garnered only 128 yards in offense. Until late in the fourth quarter, Clifford had more yards rushing (54) than the entire Maryland backfield.


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