Penn State left tackle Olu Fashanu (74) gets set before a play against West Virginia at Beaver Stadium September 2, 2023, in State College.

Penn State LT Olu Fashanu declares for NFL draft

Penn State’s Olu Fashanu, considered one of the top offensive tackles in the upcoming class, announced Friday he is entering the 2024 NFL Draft.

Fashanu was seen as a first-round pick in mock drafts for 2023, but he decided to return for another season with the Nittany Lions.

“A year ago I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to declare for the NFL draft,” Fashanu wrote in a social media post. “I am forever grateful that I made the decision to come back and compete with my brothers on last time while also graduating. With that being said, I am proud to announce that I will be declaring fore the 2024 NFL Draft. I look forward to spending time with my teammates and coaches in Atlanta for the Peach Bowl.”

While he plans to travel to Atlanta, it was unclear whether Fashanu will play in the Peach Bowl for No. 10 Penn State (10-2) against No. 11 Ole Miss (10-2) on Dec. 30.

Fashanu, listed at 6-foot-6 and 317 pounds, was a two-year starter at Penn State and was named a first-team All-American in 2023.

–Field Level Media

Penn State head football coach James Franklin looks around before walking off the field following a 24-15 loss to Michigan at Beaver Stadium Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in State College, Pa.

Drew Allar, No. 11 Penn State crush Michigan State

Drew Allar went 17-of-26 passing for 292 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 11 Penn State to a 42-0 win over Michigan State in a Big Ten East contest played at Ford Field in Detroit.

Kaytron Allen rushed for 137 yards on 15 carries and Nicholas Singleton piled up 118 yards on 18 carries for Penn State (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten).

Michigan State ended its season at 4-8 overall and 2-7 in the conference.

The Nittany Lions dominated throughout, collecting 23 first downs to five for Michigan State, outgaining the Spartans, 586-68, and possessing the football for more than 36 minutes.

Penn State’s defense collected seven sacks.

Penn State scored on the first possession of the game, going 43 yards in 10 plays and taking a 3-0 lead on a 49-yard field goal by Alex Felkins.

With 12:11 to go in the second quarter, Felkins drilled a 30-yard field goal to give Penn State a 6-0 lead.

The Nittany Lions scored the first touchdown of the game with 4:51 left in the second quarter, going up 13-0 on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Allar to Allen to finish off a 10-play, 64-yard drive.

Penn State then took a 21-0 lead with 10:13 left in the third quarter on an 8-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Beau Primula to Tyler Warren and a subsequent 2-point pass from Allar to KeAndre Lambert-Smith.

The Nittany Lions went up 28-0 with 4:13 remaining in the third on a 2-yard touchdown run by Pribula.

The score was set up by a 60-yard pass from Allar to Omari Evans down to the Michigan State 2-yard line.

With 12:29 remaining in the game, Allar hit Theo Johnson for a 21-yard touchdown pass that gave Penn State a 35-0 lead.

Singleton scored on a 14-yard touchdown run with 7:58 left to make it 42-0 Nittany Lions.

–Field Level Media

Penn State defensive end Chop Robinson (44) celebrates after sacking Massachusetts quarterback Taisun Phommachanh in the first half of a NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions won, 63-0.

Penn State DE Chop Robinson out vs. Indiana

Penn State defensive end Chop Robinson missed Saturday’s home game against Indiana as he continues to recover from an injury that occurred last week.

In the second quarter of last Saturday’s 20-12 loss to host Ohio State, Robinson had difficultly getting to his feet after a collision with a Buckeyes player. Play was stopped for several minutes before Robinson was helped to his feet then carted off the field. He did not return.

Robinson, 20, is considered a top prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft and is a key member of one of the top defenses in the nation, which leads FBS in sacks (29) and the Big Ten in tackles for loss (60).

The junior, who’s in his second season at Penn State after transferring from Maryland prior to the 2022 season, has three sacks, five tackles for loss and a forced fumble in seven games this season.

Penn State coach James Franklin addressed Robinson’s injury at Tuesday’s press conference.

“From what I understand and from what I see and from what I know, I don’t see this being a long-term issue,” Franklin said. “But you never know when it comes to medical. But hopefully we’ll be getting Chop back here soon. As you guys know, I’m pretty open when it’s a season-ending injury. I don’t see that.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021;  College Station, Texas, USA;  Kent State Golden Flashes wide receiver Dante Cephas (14) receives the pass from Kent State Golden Flashes quarterback Dustin Crum (not shown) during the second quarter against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State lands coveted transfer WR Dante Cephas

Former Kent State wide receiver Dante Cephas, considered one of the best players in the transfer portal this offseason, committed Sunday night to Penn State.

Cephas was a first-team All-MAC selection in both 2021 and 2022. He had 82 receptions for 1,240 yards and nine touchdowns in 2021 and 48 catches for 744 yards and three TDs last season, playing just nine games while battling an injury.

The Nittany Lions have sent several receivers to the NFL in recent years, including Chris Godwin, K.J. Hamler and Jahan Dotson. Penn State wideout Parker Washington is likely to be a draft pick in April.

Cephas’ decision came on the same day that Penn State parted ways with receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield in a surprise move.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Harrison Wallace III (6) makes a catch against Utah Utes safety R.J. Hubert (11) in the second half of the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 Penn State pulls away from No. 8 Utah to win Rose Bowl

Sean Clifford passed for 279 yards and two touchdowns, Nicholas Singleton rushed for 120 yards and two scores and No. 11 Penn State dominated the second half while defeating No. 8 Utah 35-21 in the Rose Bowl on Monday at Pasadena, Calif.

The Nittany Lions (11-2) became the first team in Rose Bowl history to have multiple touchdown plays from scrimmage of more than 80 yards in the same game. Singleton rushed 87 yards for a TD in the third quarter, and Clifford teamed up with KeAndre Lambert-Smith on an 88-yard scoring pass in the fourth.

Kaytron Allen added a rushing touchdown and Mitchell Tinsley caught a scoring reception for Penn State, which scored the first 21 points of a rainy second half.

Quarterback Cameron Rising departed for the Utes (10-4) due to a left knee injury in the third quarter and didn’t return. He completed 8 of 21 passes for 95 yards, one touchdown and one interception and rushed for 47 yards on 10 attempts.

It marked the second straight Rose Bowl in which Rising was knocked out of the contest with an injury. He sustained a head injury in the fourth quarter of the Utes’ 48-45 loss to Ohio State in last year’s game.

Bryson Barnes replaced Rising and completed 10 of 19 passes for 112 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Utah’s Ja’Quinden Jackson rushed for a touchdown, and Thomas Yassmin and Jaylen Dixon had scoring receptions.

Penn State was backed up in its own end in a tie game when Singleton broke free on a third-and-2 play for his 87-yard run, the third-longest in Rose Bowl history. Singleton was in the clear by his own 30-yard line en route to giving his team a 21-14 lead with 9:25 left in the third quarter.

Rising was injured on Utah’s next drive after scrambling 9 yards for a first down with 8:31 left.

The Nittany Lions went for the other big strike on the first play of the final stanza to take a 14-point lead. Lambert-Smith managed to get wide open in the Utah secondary and Clifford hit him for the 88-yard score that was the longest pass play in Rose Bowl history.

Penn State increased the lead to 35-14 when Allen scored from the 1 with 10:36 left in the game. Barnes and Dixon teamed up on a late 5-yard touchdown pass for the Utes.

Earlier, Singleton scored the game’s first points on a 5-yard run with seven seconds left in the first quarter.

Utah tied the game when Rising hit Yassmin on a 1-yard touchdown pass with 7:55 left in the first half. Clifford tossed a 10-yard scoring pass to Tinsley to give Penn State a 14-7 lead with 4:47 remaining until the break before Jackson scored on a 19-yard run to tie it at 14 with 2:38 left.

–Field Level Media

NCAA Football Penn State offensive line Olu Fashanu

OT Olu Fashanu to put off NFL draft, return to Penn State

Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu announced Monday that he is forgoing the 2023 NFL Draft to return for another season with the Nittany Lions.

Fashanu’s decision was noteworthy because he was projected to be as high as a top-10 pick in 2023 had he declared.

“Although playing in the NFL is a goal of mine, there is still more that I want to achieve personally and collectively as a program,” Fashanu wrote in a social media post. “After several conversations with my parents and coaches, I will be returning to Penn State for the 2023 season.

“My work here is far from over and I look forward to getting back to work with my brothers.”

Fashanu, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound prospect, has been Penn State’s starting left tackle throughout his redshirt sophomore season. His blocking has helped Penn State gain 432.4 yards per game, ranking 35th in FBS, with top-50 averages in both passing and rushing offense.

The Nittany Lions are 10-2, their only losses coming against Michigan and Ohio State, and they are in contention for a New Year’s Six bowl bid, though not a berth in the College Football Playoff.

Other top tackle prospects in 2023 include a pair of Big Ten foes, Paris Johnson Jr. of Ohio State and Peter Skoronski of Northwestern.

–Field Level Media

Penn State Nittany Lions running back Nicholas Singleton (10) runs the ball as Auburn Tigers take on Penn State Nittany Lions at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.

Off dominant win, No. 14 Penn St. refocuses vs. Central Michigan

After an eye-opening performance on the road, the big question for No. 14 Penn State is how much of an emotional letdown there may be.

The Nittany Lions (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) turned in one of the most impressive performances of the young season last week with a 41-12 road win at SEC foe Auburn, but now must refocus for a game against a Group of Five opponent when Central Michigan visits University Park, Pa., for a noon kickoff on Saturday.

Of all the things that stood out for Penn State in the win at Auburn, maybe the most noticeable was the way the Nittany Lions ran the ball.

Penn State struggled with its offensive line play and running game last year, but completely controlled Auburn’s defensive line, rushing for 245 yards on 6.3 per carry.

True freshman Nicholas Singleton was the biggest beneficiary of Penn State’s improved line play, rushing for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

Freshman Kaytron Allen, sophomore Keyvone Lee and junior Devyn Ford have flanked Singleton in what is a deep group of running backs for Penn State.

“We’re getting better up front and at tight end,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said after the game. “We’re doing some things speed-wise to help them. The ability to be more balanced and take pressure off the passing game, I think it’s been really important for us. We also have some dynamic backs that help create some explosive plays.”

Penn State’s offense has averaged more than 40 points a game to start the season.

Singleton has already rushed for 334 yards and four touchdowns, while quarterback Sean Clifford has completed nearly 64 percent of his passes (53 of 83) for 673 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.

After allowing 31 points in a season-opening win at Purdue, Penn State’s defense has allowed 22 points combined in the last two games.

The Nittany Lions now turn their attention to what will be their final nonconference game of the season before returning to Big Ten play.

Central Michigan comes in at 1-2 following a 41-0 home win over FCS opponent Bucknell on Saturday.

The Chippewas started the season with a 58-44 road loss at Oklahoma State before losing at home to South Alabama, 38-24.

As is the case with Penn State, this will be Central Michigan’s last nonconference game before it gets into Mid-American Conference action.

Offensively, Central Michigan can be potent behind running back Lew Nichols, who rushed for 1,848 yards last year and has 258 yards and five touchdowns so far in 2022.

Quarterback Daniel Richardson is a dual-threat signal caller who so far this season is 73-of-127 passing for 889 yards, seven touchdowns and two picks.

“When you get it, enjoy it, reflect on it,” Central Michigan head coach Jim McElwain said after his team beat Bucknell. “Make sure you really know what that feeling is and hopefully it becomes contagious moving forward.”

This is only the second meeting between the Nittany Lions and Chippewas all-time. Penn State won the only other meeting in 2005 by a score of 40-3.

–Field Level Media

Sep 1, 2022; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) runs to pass the ball while Purdue Boilermakers defensive tackle Lawrence Johnson (90) defends  in the second quarter at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State overtakes Purdue with last-minute TD

Sean Clifford, who passed for four touchdowns and rushed for another, found Keyvone Lee for the go-ahead score with 57 seconds left to lift Penn State to a season-opening, 35-31 win against Purdue on Thursday night in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Nittany Lions (1-0, 1-0 Big Ten) prevailed in a game that had seven lead changes and 832 yards of total offense.

Penn State punctuated an eight-play, 80-yard drive on a 10-yard connection from Clifford to Lee.

Chris Jefferson had given Purdue (0-1, 0-1) a 31-28 advantage with 8:29 to go on a 72-yard interception-return touchdown.

Clifford completed 20 of 37 passes for 282 yards, with one interception. Mitchell Tinsley had seven receptions for 84 yards and a score.

Aidan O’Connell threw for 323 yards and a touchdown on 30-of-59 passing and King Doerue rushed for two scores to keep Purdue afloat.

After the Boilermakers relinquished the lead and momentum late in the second quarter, O’Connell piloted a pair of touchdown drives in the third to give Purdue the advantage. O’Connell hit Charlie Jones, an Iowa transfer, for a 7-yard touchdown with 1:11 left in the third as Purdue grabbed a 24-21 lead.

Clifford vaulted the Nittany Lions to a 21-10 halftime lead, going 8-for-15 for 141 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 17 yards and another score.

With Purdue driving deep into Penn State territory late in the second quarter, the Nittany Lions forced a fumble from TJ Sheffield that Joey Porter Jr. recovered at the Penn State 18-yard line.

Three plays later, Clifford connected with Brenton Strange for a 67-yard touchdown that saw Strange bounce off a pair of Boilermakers defenders inside the Purdue 45 before dashing down the right side of the field for the score.

The sequence, which ended with two seconds to go in the half, followed Clifford’s 2-yard scoring plunge with 1:44 remaining before halftime. Clifford appeared to take a low hit to the knee on the run but remained in the game, though he later missed Penn State’s first possession of the third quarter. Freshman Drew Allar went 2-for-4 for 26 yards in relief.

Jones had 12 receptions for 153 yards in his Purdue debut. Doerue ran 15 times for 57 yards.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA;  Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) stands on the field during the first half against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State QB Sean Clifford returning for 2022 season

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford will spend one more season in Happy Valley.

The redshirt senior announced on social media Friday that he will not enter the 2022 NFL Draft.

“… I will be returning to Penn State to play one more season in the Blue & White,” he tweeted, in part. “I could not pass up the chance to be with this family and play the game I love again. The opportunity to play alongside my brother, Liam, and the rest of my brothers on the team made this decision easy.”

The Nittany Lions started 5-0 this season before losing five of their next seven games. They will finish the season against No. 21 Arkansas (8-4) at the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day in Tampa, Fla.

Clifford passed for 2,912 yards with 20 touchdowns and six interceptions in 12 games this season. His career totals from 2018-21 include 7,644 passing yards with 61 touchdowns and 22 picks.

Liam Clifford is a freshman wide receiver who took a redshirt year this season.

–Field Level Media

Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III runs past Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Jerron Cage during the first quarter at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on Nov. 20, 2021.

Syndication The Providence Journal

No. 12 Michigan State hopes to rebound vs. Penn State

Michigan State lost all hope for a College Football Playoff berth and a Big Ten championship during a non-competitive outing against Ohio State on Saturday.

The Spartans, who tumbled to No. 12 in the CFP rankings, will look to finish the regular season on a high note when they host Penn State this Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.

The Buckeyes cruised to a 56-7 romp over the Spartans (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten). The score could have been worse, considering Ohio State led 49-0 at halftime.

“We accept responsibility for what happened, the coaches and players,” coach Mel Tucker said. “We learned from it and put together a plan to improve and correct things. Then we turned the page to prepare for Penn State.”

With their record, the Spartans are still likely to play in a New Year’s Day bowl. They could enhance their resume with a victory over the Nittany Lions (7-4, 4-4), who blanked Rutgers 28-0 last weekend after a narrow loss to Michigan.

“We have a lot to play for on Saturday,” Tucker said. “We have a significant amount of seniors, some of whom have been here six years. We want to make it a special day for them. We have an opportunity to win 10 games and to go undefeated in the Wood Shed (Spartan Stadium) in front of our fans.”

However, Tucker admitted losses to Purdue and Ohio State stung after his team surprised many people by going 8-0.

“We’re not playing with the house’s money, so to speak,” he said. “That’s not our attitude. I get that a lot, so I know the players are hearing that as well. ‘Hey, this has been a great season. No one expected you to do anything.’ That doesn’t register with me and that doesn’t register with our team.”

Kenneth Walker III likely saw his Heisman Trophy dreams dashed in Columbus. The junior running back rushed for just 25 yards on six carries and caught one pass.

Walker sustained an undisclosed injury and his status for Saturday’s game is unknown.

The Spartans might also be missing their top two receivers. Jayden Reed suffered a right foot injury against the Buckeyes, and Jalen Nailor sat out with a hand injury.

This game includes the unique circumstance of pitting two coaches who signed 10-year contract extensions this week — Tucker with the Spartans and James Franklin with the Nittany Lions.

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford left the game against the Scarlet Knights early with flu-like symptoms, but freshman replacement Christian Veilleux tossed three touchdown passes. Clifford is expected to play on Saturday.

Franklin is concerned that the Spartans will be an angry bunch after getting pounded last weekend.

“Whether it’s a close loss, that people feel you should have won against a really good opponent, or whether it’s the opposite, it’s challenging,” Franklin said. “Especially teams that have high expectations, high standards.”

The Nittany Lions should be able to exploit Michigan State’s FBS-worst pass defense (339.9 ypg), but Franklin won’t scrap his running game.

“The numbers do matter,” he said. “But you have to play your game plan and you have to stay balanced because if you try to become something on Saturday that you haven’t been throughout the season, then you’re going to get out of whack.”

–Field Level Media