Week 1 of the college soccer season kicked off with a special Thursday night slate of games.
Penn State went on the road and took down Big Ten foe Purdue, 35-31, and Minnesota shut out visiting New Mexico State, 38-0.
Earlier, No. 17 Pittsburgh narrowly escaped West Virginia, 38-31, and No. 12 Oklahoma State held off Central Michigan, 58-44, after the Chippewas came back from a 26-point deficit.
Here are the top plays from Thursday night’s action as Week 1 kicks off.
Penn State 35, Purdue 31
Penn State QB Sean Clifford made a clutch third-down play in the second quarter, connecting with wideout Mitchell Tinsley for a 12-yard touchdown to give the Nittany Lions the lead and their first TD of the season.
Sean Clifford shows composure on Penn State’s opening TD
Sean Clifford avoided the pressure and threw an impressive touchdown to Mitchell Tinsley to help Penn State grab an early 7-3 lead against Purdue.
Purdue’s King Doerue ran straight through the Penn State defense—stiff arm and all—on his way to the end zone, giving the Boilermakers back the lead 10-7 early in the second quarter.
The Nittany Lions came up with back-to-back TDs ahead of halftime.
King of the ground game
Purdue’s Doerue helped close the gap to 21-17 in the third quarter with a smooth 2-yard TD run.
The teams were neck and neck after trading TDs, but Purdue took the lead in the fourth, 31-28, after Clifford’s pass was intercepted by safety Chris Jefferson and returned 72 yards to the house.
Chris Jefferson’s pick-six gives Purdue lead
Chris Jefferson helped Purdue gain the lead again midway through the fourth quarter, thanks to his pick-six against Penn State.
Late quarter surge
Clifford tossed a TD to Keyvone Lee with just under a minute left, and that was enough as Penn State held on for the win.
Minnesota 38, New Mexico State 0
Minnesota was first on the board thanks to star running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who returned this year for a sixth season with the Golden Gophers.
Meanwhile, in Minneapolis …
Ibrahim started the second quarter the same way he started the first — with a score. Then, Minnesota snuck another one in as the clock expired in the first half.
Just like that, the Golden Gophers jumped out to a 24-0 lead at the break.
More of the same
Minnesota continued to dominate the ground game, cashing in for their fifth rushing score of the night to seal the deal.
No. 17 Pittsburgh 38, West Virginia 31
Just how he drew it up
WVU had a scare when quarterback JT Daniels, a transfer from Georgia, bobbled the snap, but things turned out just fine for the Mountaineers on this drive.
WVU took the lead in the second quarter when Bryce Ford-Wheaton turned on the jets for a 10-yard TD.
WVU came up huge on special teams early in the third quarter, blocking Pitt’s punt, which resulted in a short field and a quick score for the Mountaineers.
Pitt answered with back-to-back scores to close out the third quarter. First, Daniel Carter found the end zone with ease after has massive gain from Jared Wayne. Then, Pitt regained the lead thanks to Rodney Hammond.
Rising to the occasion
Daniels connected with Ford-Wheaton once again, this time for a 16-yard TD, followed by taking it in himself on a QB sneak on the Panthers’ next drive, good for a 31-24 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Down to the wire
Pitt fired back with two consecutive scores to take lead late in the fourth quarter. QB Kedon Slovis found Israel Abanikanda for a 24-yard catch-and-run score. Then, the Panthers picked off Daniels for the monster pick-six to win it.
MJ Devonshire intercepts JT Daniels in the Backyard Brawl
MJ Devonshire intercepts West Virginia’s JT Daniels and takes it in for the touchdown to give the Pitt Panthers the wild victory in the Backyard Brawl.
No. 12 Oklahoma State 58, Central Michigan 44
Oklahoma State was first on the board when John Paul Richardson broke off for a monster 45-yard touchdown off a quick pass from QB Spencer Sanders.
John Paul Richardson shows off his athleticism in 45-yard TD
John Paul Richardson helped the Oklahoma State Cowboys score their first touchdown of the season, thanks to impressive reception in the first quarter.
Central Michigan was quick to answer with a score of its own, evening things up early in the first quarter.
The Oklahoma State Defense showed up in a big way, forcing a safety to put the Cowboys up 9-7 with less than a minute remaining in the opening frame.
With momentum on its side, Oklahoma State extended its lead to 16-7 as the first quarter came to a close.
Spencer Sanders extends Oklahoma State’s lead
Spencer Sanders’ electric 17-yard rushing touchdown gave the Oklahoma State Cowboys a 16-7 lead against Central Michigan.
When it rains, it pours
Sanders & Co. continued to pour it on the Chippewas as the second quarter got underway.
Sanders connects with Braydon Johnson for 13-yard TD
QB Spencer Sanders connects with Braydon Johnson for a 13-yard touchdown to put Oklahoma State up 23-7.
More of the same
Midway through the second frame, Sanders found running back Jaden Nixon, who took off for a 17-yard score thanks to some fancy footwork.
On the following drive, Sanders came up with his second rushing TD of the day. Just like that, it was a 30-point game, 37-7.
Central Michigan showed up on the ensuing drive, thanks to RB Lew Nichols’ short 4-yard scamper into the end zone. The Chippewas followed that up with a successful two-point conversion for good measure.
It didn’t take long for Oklahoma State to return the favor, however, as Dominic Richardson punched it in to make it 44-15 headed into the break.
No slowing down
The Cowboys picked up in the second half right where they left off. Sanders found Bryson Green in the corner of the end zone for a quick score.
Spencer Sanders finds Bryson Green for 7-yard TD
Oklahoma State Cowboys’ QB Spencer Sanders took part in his sixth touchdown of the game, connecting with Bryson Green on a 7-yard TD pass.
CMU was quick to answer, as Jalen McGaughy reeled in a difficult pass under pressure for the Chippewas’ TD.
Finding his footing
Then, Central Michigan capped off a three-play, 39-yard drive with another TD to close the gap, 51-28.
Back and forth
Both teams traded off TDs late in the fourth quarter. OSU’s Zach Middleton punched one in for the Cowboys — their seventh TD of the night — followed by CMU’s Nichols popping off for a 15-yard TD.
Too little, too late
Despite the loss, CMU had the last word in this one, as McGaughy ended things with a 54-yard TD catch.
CMU’s Daniel Richardson connects with Jalen McGaughy for 54-yard TD
QB Daniel Richardson connects with Jalen McGaughy for a 54-yard touchdown.
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