GAME NOTES: Penn State Vs. Ohio
University Park, PA
Penn State hosts Ohio in Beaver Stadium on Saturday for its home opener. Kickoff is set for noon on ABC. The 2022 Penn State football season is presented by PSECU.
Return Of The Mac
The Nittany Lions will open non-conference play with the Bobcats, the sixth matchup between the schools. Penn State is very familiar with Mid-American Conference teams, having played a MAC team in 19 of the last 20 seasons with the only exception being a Big Ten-only schedule in 2020. Penn State is 28-3 all-time against current members of the MAC and hosts Central Michigan on September 24.
Home Sweet Home
Penn State begins its 63rd season in Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions are 120-13-1 all-time in home openers. The Blue and White owns a 52-10 record in Beaver Stadium home openers. Penn State has won 18 of its last 20 home openers.
The Nittany Lions hold a 5-1 series lead against Ohio. This is the first meeting between the teams since 2012, when Penn State fell 24-14. All six games in the series have been played in Happy Valley. Ohio is tied with Akron as Penn State's most-played MAC opponents.
Sean Clifford tied a career high with four passing touchdowns against Purdue, connecting with Mitchell Tinsley (12 yards) and Brenton Strange (67 yards) in the second quarter and KeAndre Lambert-Smith (29 yards) and Keyvone Lee (10 yards) in the fourth quarter. Clifford added a 2-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter.
Penn State recorded a school-record 16 pass breakups at Purdue. The 16 breakups are tied for the most in the FBS in a game since Tulane had 20 against East Carolina in 2018. Joey Porter Jr. notched six pass breakups, setting a school record and tying a Big Ten record.
Ohio started the 2022 campaign with a 41-38 win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday. The Bobcats held off a late rally by the Owls. Kurtis Rourke completed 27-of-34 passes for 345 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for another score. James Bostic hauled in six receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown. Sieh Bangura rushed for 114 yards on 23 carries. Safety Ben Johnson led Ohio with 15 tackles. Rodney Mathews had a strip to force a fumble in the fourth quarter.
Scouting The Bobcats
- Tim Albin enters his second season as Ohio's head coach. The Bobcats were 3-9 in Albin's first season in 2021.
- Albin joined he Ohio coaching staff as offensive coordinator in 2005 under Frank Solich.
- He served as offensive coordinator and running backs coach at North Dakota State in 2004 after serving on Solich's staff at Nebraska from 2000-03.
- Ohio earned a 41-38 win over Florida Atlantic to begin the 2022 campaign.
- The Bobcats went 3-9 in 2021 with wins over Akron (34-17), Miami (Ohio) (35-33) and Eastern Michigan (34-26). Four of Ohio's losses were in one-possession games.
- Quarterback Kurtis Rourke is a member of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list after completing 65.3 percent of his passes for 1,801 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2021. He also rushed for 327 yards and three touchdowns.
- The Bobcats tallied 476 total yards in their win over Florida Atlantic.
- Rourke threw for 345 passing yards and four touchdowns, while adding a rushing touchdown.
- James Bostic caught six passes for 136 yards and a touchdown, while Sam Wiglusz hauled in two touchdowns.
- Sieh Bangura rushed for 114 yards on 23 carries.
- Safety Ben Johnson led the Ohio defense with 15 tackles, including five solo and half a tackle for loss.
- Jack McCrory notched seven tackles, including a sack.
- Rodney Mathews collected two tackles, including a strip-sack, while Bryce Houston had four tackles and a fumble recovery.
- Jonah Wieland averaged 44.2 yards per punt, including a 51-yard punt, and landed two inside the 20.
Nittany Lions Vs. The Mac
- Penn State has a long history of competing against Mid-American Conference teams.
- The Nittany Lions hold a 30-2 all-time record against MAC opponents.
- Prior to a Big Ten-only schedule in 2020, Penn State had played a MAC opponent in 18 straight seasons.
- The Nittany Lions earned a 44-13 win over Ball State on September 11, 2021.
- Ohio is tied with Akron as Penn State's most-played MAC opponent with six matchups each.
- The Nittany Lions have played Kent State and Temple five times each while they have been members of the MAC.
- Penn State meets Central Michigan for the second time in program history on September 24. The Nittany Lions earned a 40-3 win over the Chippewas in 2005.
- Penn State begins its 63rd season in Beaver Stadium.
- The Nittany Lions are 120-13-1 all-time in home openers, including last year's 44-13 victory over Ball State.
- The Blue and White owns a 52-10 record in Beaver Stadium home openers.
- Penn State has won 18 of its last 20 home openers.
- Penn State improved to 15-3-1 all-time against Purdue and 8-2 in road matchups.
- The Nittany Lions are now 112-22-2 all-time in season openers and 16-14 all-time in Big Ten openers.
- Penn State tallied 406 yards, including 308 through the air.
- QB Sean Clifford tied a career high with four passing touchdowns and added a rushing score.
- On the night, Clifford surpassed the 8,000-career passing yard mark and the 9,000-career total yards mark.
- The Nittany Lions forced and recovered a fumble in the second quarter to extend their takeaway streak to 20 games, tied with Oklahoma for the second-longest streak in the FBS.
- Penn State broke up 16 passes and held Aidan O'Connell to a 50.0 completion percentage after he completed 71 percent of his passes in 2021.
- CB Joey Porter Jr. recorded a team-high eight tackles, a career-high six pass breakups and recovered a fumble.