You couldn’t have asked for a better day in State College to kick off the 2019 regular season. A crowd of 104,527 came out to Beaver Stadium to watch the Nittany Lions open the year with a visit from the Idaho Vandals. This was actually the first meeting between Penn State and Idaho. By the time the game was over, however, a lot of people from Idaho were probably wishing it never happened. Penn State came away with the win by a score of 79-7.
PSU sophomore QB Sean Clifford had some big shoes to fill, taking over after the departure of Trace McSorley. Before this game, he only attempted 7 passes for PSU. After only 2 shaky drives, Clifford kicked it into gear and never looked back.
Clifford finished the day after the first drive of the 2nd half. He finished 14/23 for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also added in 7 rushes for 57 yards. Freshman Devyn Ford led the way for the Nittany Lions on the ground with 6 rushes for 107 yards and 1 touchdown. Meanwhile, sophomore KJ Hamler lead the air attack with 4 catches for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. PSU scored 7 of its 10 touchdowns on the ground, with 5 different backs scoring at least 1. The offense as a whole finished with 673 total yards, with 342 coming through the air and 331 on the ground.
Not only was Penn State’s offense clicking, their defense was clicking as well. Idaho was only able to accrue 141 passing yards and 4 rushing yards all game. The defense also forced 1 interception. Idaho was only able to convert 5 first downs all game. This includes going 1-15 on 3rd down and 0-2 on 4th down. PSU kicker Jordan Stout played his part in keeping Idaho pinned back in their own territory as he kicked 13 touchbacks throughout the game.
Idaho scored their only touchdown of the game with 12:35 left in the 4th quarter. This came on a drive after an Idaho punt was fumbled by PSU returner Mac Hippenhammer and recovered by the Vandals. The touchdown came on a 1 yard pass from QB Mason Petrino to TE Logan Kendall, his only catch of the day.
Up next for Penn State is another home game on September 7th at 7:30pm against Buffalo. Up next for Idaho is a trip back home to take on Central Washington at 9pm on September 7th.