STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Sean Clifford completed 22 of 34 passes for 217 yards and accounted for four touchdowns to lead No. 14 Penn State past Central Michigan 33-14 on Saturday.
Tight end Brenton Strange caught two touchdowns and Mitchell Tinsley caught one. Clifford and Kaytron Allen added touchdown runs for the Nittany Lions (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten. Penn State forced four turnovers.
It didn’t take long for the Nittany Lions to take control.
Clifford marched his offense 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 completed 22 of 34 passes for 217 yards with three touchdowns. He ran for 23 yards and another score.
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.
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.
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.
Central Michigan: Visits Toledo on Saturday.
Penn State: Hosts Northwestern on Saturday.