Penn State cruised to a convincing win over the Akron Zips on the back of a dominating defensive effort in the first half. The offense sputtered at times, but other times looked sharp in rolling up 31 first half points.
Penn State looked crisp to start the game with a seven play 84 yard drive capped off by a five yard touchdown run by Evan Royster. The drive started with a nice naked bootleg to Joe Suhey, and also featured a deep throw over the middle to Derek Moye. Later in the quarter Clark connected with Chaz Powell on a nine yard touchown pass in the back of the endzone.
But there were times the offense looked off in the first half. Clark was overthrowing some guys and forcing a few throws into coverage having one pass to Chaz Powell tipped in the air and intercepted near the goal line. The offensive line looked good on pass protection, but Evan Royster and Stephfon Green were having difficulty finding holes to run through. And then Colin Wagner shanked his first field goal attempt.
The story of the first half was the Nittany Lion defense. The defensive line dominated the Zips not allowing the ball carriers to cross the line of scrimmage, and not allowing Jaczuemain any time to throw. Penn State held Akron to just eight total yards and minus 15 yards rushing and no first downs in the first half. Latimore and Latham recorded sacks while Odrick, Ogbu, and Crawford were living in the backfield stuffing the running plays. Andrew Dailey had a key interception.
It looked like the offense was going flat in the second quarter when they were stopped on 3rd down on their own 47 yard line. Then Joe Paterno called a rare fake punt to Andrew Dailey who picked up 37 yards and a first down. That was the spark the offense needed to come to life. Penn State drove down to kick a field goal for a 17-0 lead. And then they scored touchdowns on their next two drives. Clark connected with Derek Moye on a 22 yard touchdown pass and then connected with Graham Zug on a 19 yard strike. The latter was set up just before the half by a pretty 42 yard pass from Clark to Moye.
The second half wasn't much to speak of. Akron abandoned the rushing game and started to find some space against the bend-but-don't-suck defense. The offense tried to get back to basics. The offense was having a lot of success with a lot of gimmick plays in the first half. Naked bootlegs, play action passes, and end arounds were fooling the Zips. In the second half they tried to get back to power football, and the results were disappointing as Penn State couldn't open up holes for Royster and Green to exploit.
Overall it was a good first game. Daryll Clark finished the day with 353 yards and 3 TD passes on 29-of-40 passing. Evan Royster had a modest 63 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Penn State handled Akron as they should have. But there is a lot to work on in the running game and the timing in the passing offense.