Week 3 had its fair share of intriguing matchups. Only a handful of contests pitted top-25 teams against one another, but there were several occasions where ranked teams had to hang on or rally to beat unranked opponents.
Although only one of the teams was ranked, the non-conference showdown in Jordan-Hare Stadium drew plenty of eyeballs. In the end, No. 22 Penn State went south and rolled past Auburn, 41-12.
For their efforts, the Nittany Lions become the first Big Ten team in 2022 to earn the FQ/CFBHome Team of the Week distinction.
In terms of yards, the contest wouldn’t have seemed so one-sided. For anyone who watched Saturday’s game, however, it was clear that the Nittany Lions were superior.
Penn State trailed by a field goal early on, but quickly took the lead and asserted its will in the second half. As a team, the Nittany Lions finished with 477 total yards, including 245 rushing on 6.3 yards per carry.
Nicholas Singleton led the way with 124 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries. Kaytron Allen also rushed for a pair of scores. Quarterback Sean Clifford was efficient passing while adding a rushing touchdown.
Defensively, Penn State swarmed. Auburn was held to just 3.3 yards per carry rushing. The Nittany Lions tallied six sacks and 11 tackles for loss while forcing four turnovers.
Adisa Isaac finished with one sack and three tackles for loss for Penn State. Ji’Ayir Brown and Jakee Wheatley each recorded interceptions in the win.
For Penn State, the 29-point victory tied the second largest in program history over an SEC team. The Nittany Lions defeated Auburn by 29 in the Outback Bowl to end the 1995 season, 43-14. Their biggest win over SEC competition was a 30-0 win at Kentucky in 1978.
For Auburn, the loss is its worst at home in a decade as it fell to Georgia in 2012 by a 38-0 score. It was the worst home non-conference loss for the Tigers in 40 years. The last time they endured a worse non-conference loss at home came in a 41-7 defeat to Nebraska in 1982.
After rallying to top Purdue in the season opener, Penn State has now outscored its last two opponents by an 87-22 margin. Saturday’s win featured the largest margin of victory over a Power 5 team since rolling past Illinois in the 2020 finale, 56-21.
Now 3-0, Penn State will look to start 4-0 for the second straight season when it hosts Central Michigan on Saturday. The contest is set for noon ET and will air on Big Ten Network.
Auburn will remain home on Saturday for the start of SEC play — also at noon. It will take on another group of Tigers in Missouri. The SEC opener for both teams will broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Featured image courtesy of Penn State athletics