Welcome back another season, one that seems to filled with more uncertainty than we’ve been accustomed the last couple years. You can probably expect a very vanilla affair on Saturday as this will likely play out as a preseason game. The starters will work a little, presumably building a comfortable lead and lots of guys will get to play off the bench. The offense won’t get too cute, the defense should dominate. Getting live action against a team not your own is pretty much the goal for the day.
Penn State 55, Idaho 7
I really don’t want to be the condescending PSU fan who thinks that playing Idaho is almost a waste of time, but by gosh I’m struggling with it. As far as week 1 opponents go, they don’t come much easier than the Vandals, who should allow for Sean Clifford and the offense to get their feet under them. Conservatively, I’d wager the starters are pulled at the beginning of the fourth, but they may not be needed after halftime. The offense looks really good, and the defense is stifling in a day where Blake Gillikin has very little to do.
Penn State 56, Idaho 9
There really isn’t that much to learn from this week, assuming Sean Clifford doesn’t completely poop the bed (which won’t happen). Penn State should be able to run the ball at will, which should make for some wide-open receivers off of play-action. I think Ricky Rahne is aggressive early and often and I’d expect KJ Hamler to find the end zone multiple times in this game and in multiple ways. Defensively, I can’t see Idaho having anything for Penn State. If the Nittany Lions give up more than 10 points in this game it’d be a bit of disappointment.
Penn State 48, Spuds 7
Penn State doesn’t score on their first drive, but they do on a bunch of other ones.
Penn State 42, Idaho 3
Hopefully on Saturday we see a strong showing from the offensive line and accuracy from Sean Clifford. That and no injuries as Penn State plays the first of two warm up games before they play Pitt. Let’s mash some potatoes.
Penn State 42, Idaho 7
I think Penn State’s first and second string offenses show up on Saturday and show they’re ready to bring it in 2019. I’m expecting a great first half-line out of Sean Clifford, something around 14-for-18 for 220-yards, and two or three touchdowns. I think 28+ lead at halftime is certainly possible. I think in the second half we see the second-team offense for 90% of the time but the Nittany Lions are just too talented and strong for Idaho to stop them.
Penn State 52, Spuds 6
Penn State big, Idaho little (there I go writing like bscaff)
Listen, will a first week blowout of a former D1 opponent do much for the public’s perception that this is a rebuilding year for PSU? Of course not, that’s ingrained at this point (and if you don’t think CJF’s using that chalk, you know him less than the folks who inexplicably claim what he did at Vandy was unremarkable).
Regardless of that, though, this will be a much better game if you like to not get nervous indigestion than last year’s nail biter against Appalachian State to start the year. This year, there won’t be press about any particular upset anniversaries, and there won’t be any major headlines. The only real question is whether Sean Clifford and KJ Hamler play after the third quarter (my money’s on a definite NO).
Penn State 45, Idaho 6
The defense will absolutely look the part with YGM, Shaka, Bobby Windsor, Parsons, and the like get their pound(s) of flesh. Offensively, there may be a few kinks to work out, but there is nothing about this Idaho defense that makes me think Sean Clifford won’t have a solid starting debut slinging the rock like he’s playing two-hand touch in the neighborhood, or that Ricky Slade and The Platoon don’t run inside and around, or that KJ, Free Moose, and the rest of the pass-catching crew don’t come out and send a message that the dropped balls were left behind with the Tide Pod Challenge (and other horrible 2018 memes).
Idaho gets an early field goal, thanks to either a broken play or a dumb turnover inside PSU territory, but doesn’t get on the board again until scoring a TD in the waning minutes of garbage time against the towel boys.
Penn State 52, Idaho 10
Jared (Originally from the Game Preview)
Nothing against the fine folks at Idaho, but if this game is competitive into the second quarter something is terribly wrong. The Vandals are coming off a 4-7 season against mostly FCS competition, and the two FBS games (against Fresno State and Florida) resulted in combined 142-23 drubbings.
There will likely be more passing from Penn State than expected in a game like this to help Sean Clifford gain chemistry with his receivers group. This will lead to a 280 yard, three touchdown performance from Clifford before making way for Will Levis, Ta’Quan Roberson and Michael Johnson Jr. to see some live action for the first time. Ricky Slade breaks off a 60-yard touchdown run early, with Journey Brown and Noah Cain adding scores as well. Jahan Dotson leads the team with eight receptions, including a touchdown on the opening drive.
On defense, Micah Parsons halts an early Vandals drive with a strip sack, while Yetur Gross-Matos and Robert Windsor each get to the quarterback twice. Sean Simmons shows he’s back with a sack and two TFLs. True freshman Keaton Ellis gets his first career interception in the second half as Penn State rolls.
Penn State 56, Idaho 6