Shut Out in Happy Valley: Penn State vs. Akron

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UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - SEPTEMBER 02: Tommy Stevens #2 of the Penn State Nittany Lions is brought down by Deon'Tae Moore #56 of the Akron Zips during the second half, Moore was called for a personal foul on the play on September 2, 2017 at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. Penn State defeats Akron 52-0. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Deon'Tae Moore; Tommy Stevens
  1. Penn State Beats Akron 52-0

Shut out in Happy Valley

There was a shutout in Happy Valley this weekend to start the college football season. The Penn State Nittany Lions beat Akron 52-0. The Nittany Lion offense started right where it left off in the Rose Bowl a season ago. No. 6 Penn State ended the game against Akron on Saturday with 52 points and 569 total yards of offense. The game went smoothly for Penn State after a McSorley interception in the end zone to cap the Nittany Lion’s first drive of the game.

Offense Takeaways

Saquon Barkley continued his Heisman campaign with 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, one of which was 80 yards. Barkley did not play the entire fourth quarter and was used sparingly throughout a wet, blowout game.

Fans wanted to see was how Trace McSorely would fare without his number one wide receiver, Chris Godwin. McSorely did not disappoint. He ended the game in the third quarter with 280 passing yards, three total touchdowns (two passing and one rushing), and one interception. Furthermore, he threw to five different receivers. A bright spot in the receiving corps was Juwan Johnson. Johnson had four receptions for 84 yards and his 6 ft. 4 in. gave him an edge over the Zips secondary. Finally, tight end Mike Gesicki remained a red zone target with two touchdowns on six receptions.

Defense Takeaways

The defense was a question mark for the Nittany Lions going into the 2017 season, but looked solid against Akron on Saturday. They held the Zips to 159 total yards and secured a shutout in Happy Valley. A bright spot for the Penn State defense that lost both defensive ends to the NFL last season was Ryan Buchholz. Buchholz had four tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble.

Additionally, the Penn State secondary flew all over the field on Saturday, especially cornerback Amani Oruwaryie. Oruwaryie had an interception and a key pass breakup. He prevented, what would have been, the only touchdown for the Zips. The secondary as a whole only allowed 86 passing yards; this is a definite unit to watch as the season progresses. Even though the linebackers may not have had a sack in this game, they held Ohio State transfer running back, Warren Ball, to 27 total rushing yards.

Looking Ahead

The next game for Penn State is at home on Saturday, September 9th against the Pittsburgh Panthers. A year ago, Pitt handed the Nittany Lions a 39-42 loss in Pittsburgh. It was evident in the season opener for Pitt on Saturday that this is not the same Panther team. Pitt escaped a loss to Youngstown State in overtime. Look for a sold out Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lion faithful will be eager to show the Panthers what it is like to play in front of 107,000 fans. Barkley and McSorely are going to be too much for the Pitt defense to handle. The Nittany Lions will come out of the weekend 2-0 to start the 2017 season.

Main Photo:

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – SEPTEMBER 02: Tommy Stevens #2 of the Penn State Nittany Lions is brought down by Deon’Tae Moore #56 of the Akron Zips during the second half, Moore was called for a personal foul on the play on September 2, 2017 at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. Penn State defeats Akron 52-0. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Deon’Tae Moore; Tommy Stevens

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