Freshman backs power No. 22 Penn State past Auburn, 41-12

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AUBURN, Ala. – Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen combined for 176 rushing yards and four touchdowns as No. 22 Penn State cruised to a 41-12 win at Auburn on Saturday.

The Nittany Lions’ freshman running backs were instrumental in the red zone. Penn State (3-0) scored touchdowns on each of its first four trips inside the 20-yard line. Quarterback Sean Clifford passed for 178 yards.

“The ability to be more balanced and take pressure off the passing game has been really important for us,” said Penn State coach James Franklin. “We also have some dynamic backs that can help create some explosive plays.”

The Penn State defense forced four turnovers by Auburn (2-1) and also held Tigers star running back Tank Bigsby to 39 rushing yards.

Auburn quarterback T.J. Finley had 152 passing yards, an interception and a lost fumble before being replaced in the second half by Robby Ashford.

Penn State led by one point late in the second quarter before Allen scored his first of two touchdowns. After Auburn opened the third quarter with a three-and-out, Singleton broke a 54-yard run and found the end zone two plays later.

The Nittany Lions scored 20 more points in the second half to pull away for the comfortable win in what was the first game against a Big Ten opponent for Auburn inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“We’re disappointed in the performance,” Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin said. “We’re disappointed in the loss. … You can look at the stats. It’s pretty matter-of-fact.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Penn State: The Nittany Lions dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, which is a major step forward for Franklin’s program. Penn State still has time to grow, too, considering the number of newcomers who are playing key roles so far this season.

Auburn: The pressure on Harsin will only increase. The loss was Auburn’s fifth straight to a Power Five team. On top of the four turnovers, the Tigers’ offense was unable to establish a consistent rushing attack and allowed a large amount of pressure in the passing game.

“The key is, really, how we handle the disappointment,” Harsin said. “… We still have a long season ahead of us. There’s still a lot of football to play.”

A HISTORIC STATE-MENT

The 29-point win tied Penn State’s second-largest margin of victory over an SEC team, matching the win over Auburn in the 1996 Outback Bowl. The Nittany Lions’ biggest victory over an SEC team came in 1978, a 30-point win over Kentucky.

“There haven’t been too many teams in the history of the Big Ten to come on the road and get a win in the SEC,” Franklin said. “So we’re very, very proud of that.”

GROUND AND POUND

Penn State finished with 245 rushing yards to Auburn’s 119. The Nittany Lions averaged 6.3 yards per carry, which is the most the Tigers have allowed since a 2020 loss to Texas A&M.

“We emphasized it all week long, and we were able to make (Auburn) one-dimensional, to a degree,” Franklin said. “Obviously, there’s some things we’ve gotta get cleaned up in the passing game. But that was the plan. We wanted to put (Finley) in a position to beat us, and I think we did that.”

THE TURNOVER BATTLE

Franklin called Auburn’s four turnovers to Penn State’s zero “the story of the game.” Through three games this season, the Tigers have not had a single defensive takeaway and currently sit at minus-8 in turnover margin.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Penn State made its season debut in the poll this week and has a good chance to move up after a big win on the road.

UP NEXT

Penn State returns home to face Central Michigan next Saturday. Auburn hosts Missouri in its SEC opener next Saturday.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.