PSU-Idaho highlights, lowlights
UNIVERSITY PARK — Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State’s 79-7 win over Idaho on Saturday at Beaver Stadium:
Play of the game: On fourth-and-1 on the game-opening possession from its own 29, Idaho went for it, and Logan Kendall was stopped shy of the first down by Micah Parsons. The tone was set.
Offensive player of the game: Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford, making his first start, completed 14-of-23 for 280 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 57 yards.
Defensive player of the game: Lion defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos was credited with 2.5 sacks.
Most telling statistic: Penn State made 35 first downs and held Idaho to five.
Most deceiving statistic: Idaho completed 16-of-26 passes.
Hidden statistic: The Lion defense limited Idaho to one third-down conversion in 15 attempts.
Best run: True freshman Devyn Ford burst 81 yards for a touchdown up the left side in the second quarter, extending the Lions’ lead to 34-0 with 4:27 remaining in the first half.
Best pass: Clifford scrambled and lofted a perfect 36-yard touchdown pass to KJ Hamler with 10:27 left in the second quarter, upping PSU’s lead to 27-0.
Worst pass: Down 51-0, Idaho starter Mason Petrino was picked off in the flat after throwing directly to John Reid, who returned it to the Vandals’ 9.
Best catch: Hamler adjusted nicely to pull in a 36-yarder in the third quarter.
Catch it, will ya: Running back Journey Brown dropped a flat pass with room to run in the second quarter
Hold it, won’t ya: Mac Hippenhammer fumbled two fourth-quarter punts.
Best block: PSU backup left offensive tackle Des Holmes blew open the edge on Ford’s touchdown.
Best tackle: Freshman linebacker Brandon Smith decked Idaho’s Kiahn Martinez late in the fourth quarter.
Best hit: Lion safety Garrett Taylor drilled Nick Romano to create an incompletion on the game’s first play. Officials initially called targeting but then picked up the flag.
Best kick: Jordan Stout, the Virginia Tech transfer, nailed a 53-yard field goal with 8:35 left in the first quarter, pushing PSU’s lead to 6-0.
Worst kick: The last thing the Vandals needed was bad special teams plays, but Idaho punter Cade Coffey shanked his first punt 18 yards.
Worst penalty: Nothing jumped out.
Best call: Letting Stout attempt — and make the 53-yarder — early. It provided a confidence boost to Stout and the kicking game on a day in which PSU was going to name its score.
Worst call: On third-and-8 from the Penn State 26, down 58-0, Idaho tried a quarterback draw. It was snowed under.
Best effort: Backup quarterback Will Levis completed 11-of-14 for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Unsung hero: Stout not only made the 53-yard field goal, but he boomed 12 touchbacks.