UNIVERSITY PARK, PENNSYLVANIA – The nationally ranked Penn State Nittany Lions dominated the Akron Zips in every facet of the game en route to a 52-0 victory in the season opener for both teams Saturday afternoon before 101,684 fans at Beaver Stadium
Penn State (1-0) has won 10 of its last 11 games dating back to last season which includes a win at home over Ohio State, and Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. The lone loss came to Southern California in an epic Rose Bowl game last January 1st
Senior RB Saquon Barkley rushed for 172 yards and two scores. Junior QB Trace McSorley completed 11-of-17 for 280 yards and a pair pf touchdown and rushed for 37 yards all in three quarters of action..
Akron (0-1) dropped their season opener for the second time in the last three seasons (both against nationally ranked teams 2014 at Oklahoma). In addition, suffered fifth consecutive loss dating back to last season and suffered their worst margin of defeat since 1997 at Louisiana State 59-0
In fact the only highlight on both sides of the ball for the Zips was on Penn State’s first possession of the contest when senior DB Zach Guiser grabbed an interception in the end zone. Guiser had 10 total tackles (eight solo) , a tackle for loss and an interception
Senior quarterback Thomas Woodson getting the start after coming back from a bevy of injuries last season. He completed 12–of- 23 passes for only 71 yards before being lifted late in the third quarter. Graduate player RB Warren Ball had just 27 yards on 13 carries while senior WR Tra’Von Chapman in his first game at that position had three receptions foir only 10 yards.
The first quarter was a complete domination by the defending Big Ten Champions as they opened a 14-0 lead. They moved the ball at will against the UA defense as it would for the entire game on this rainy, cool afternoon
The game’s first points when DeAndre Hopkins fielded a Nick Gasser punt and raced 61 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. The Blue and White doubled their lead when McSorley engineered a 75 yard 10-play drive that culminated in a 13-yard pass to senior TE Mike Gesicki who had six catches for 58 yards and two scores.
The two scores started an avalanche of points and yards for the Lions as they scored touchdowns on five of their seven possessions in the first 30 minutes. They had 358 total yards in the first half and 557 for the game.
Meanwhile, The UA offense just could not get anything going against the PSU defense. They totaled 159 yards on the afternoon. They took the ball across midfield only twice (one time being on their final drive of the game) they went 4-of-17 on third down and went three-and-out five times.
In the second half, Penn State added a 47-yard field goal from PK Tyler Davis. McSorley and Gesicki connected for the second time in the game on a to-yard touchdown. Then in the fourth quarter, backup QB Tommy Stevens scored on a five-yard run.
The Zips look to bounce back next Saturday at Inficision Stadium against the Golden Lions of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.