Penn State Defeats Idaho in Season Opener


Photo by Matthew O'Haren, USA TODAY Sports

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford warms up for his first game of the 2019 season.

Michael Czekaj, Staff Writer

The Penn State Nittany Lions football team kicked off their 2019 season at home, beating the Idaho Vandals 79 to 7. The Vandals are a former FBS team who switched to FCS before the 2018 season. 

Uniform Matchup: The Nittany Lions wore their traditional home uniforms while the Vandals wore their traditional away. Penn State rarely wears any kind of alternate uniforms. However, they announced they will do so this season against Purdue on October 5th. 

Location and time: The game was played at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA. This was the first of seven games at this stadium for PSU this year. 

Game Analysis: The Nittany Lions are coming off a 9-4 season that ended with a VRBO Citrus Bowl loss to the Kentucky Wildcats. The departures of a lot of key players from the 2016 and 2017 New Year’s Six Bowl seasons for PSU have many expert analysts doubting them in 2019. Some of these players include Trace McSorley, Saquon Barkley, Miles Sanders, Mike Gesicki, Shareef Miller, Jason Cabinda, Marcus Allen, and Grant Haley.

The Nittany Lions are looking to prove them wrong this year. Sophomore quarterback Sean Clifford made his first career start last Saturday, and after a slow start for him and the rest of the offense, he more than exceeded expectations. The running game was a big question mark for the Nittany Lions’ offense this year, with the loss of Sanders, who rushed for over 1,300 yards last year. Each of the running backs on the Penn State team (Ricky Slade, Journey Brown, Devyn Ford, and Noah Cain) rushed for a touchdown in this game against the Vandals. Clifford finished 14/23 for 280 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Third-year sophomore KJ Hamler caught 4 passes for 115 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.

Last season, Penn State barely avoided a loss that would’ve been the biggest upset of the college football by defeating the Appalachian State Mountaineers 35-28 in Overtime. Overall, the rest of the season was frustrating and hard to watch for Nittany Lion fans. A tough showing against the Vandals last week could’ve led to underwhelming things for the Nittany Lions, but they did not show any signs of that in this game whatsoever, dominating the Vandals in every statistical category. Penn State and their fans are looking forward to the next matchup at home against the Bulls of the University of Buffalo.