Just like a year ago, KJ Hamler is the week one BSD MVP. This time around, though, Hamler’s late heroics were not a necessity as he helped the Nittany Lions build an early lead on the way to a staggering 79-7 victory.
Hamler’s first Saturday of the season was much shorter this time around. After overcoming a few early bumps, the offense made the route official once Sean Clifford and Hamler connected for a pair of first half touchdowns. The redshirt sophomore did what he’s done ever since the start of his career- prove he is one of the best players on either side of the ball every time he’s on the field.
The Vandals defense had no answer for Hamler as he quickly racked up 115 receiving yards on four receptions, including the two scores. He also contributed 16 yards rushing on his only carry of the day. Hamler finished with 159 all-purpose yards on the day when including his punt return yardage.
DE Yetur Gross-Matos- A season ago, Gross-Matos had a breakout campaign and proved he was on of the best defensive linemen in the nation. In 2019, Gross-Matos will be on a mission to prove he’s the very best defensive lineman in college football. The true junior got off to a hot start, collecting 2.5 sacks as the Vandals offensive line had no response to slow him down.
RB Devyn Ford- What an introduction for the true freshmen. Ford showed tremendous vision and acceleration on his 81-yard touchdown run that gave Penn State a 34-0 lead. He finished the day with 107 rushing yards, making the point that it will be the first of many during his time in Happy Valley.
RB Nick Eury- Eury offered the highlight of the day as he refused to go down before reaching paydirt in the closing moments of the game. Despite everyone in the stadium knowing that Eury would be taking handoffs to help run down the clock, the run-on senior churned out 44 yards on his six carries with a series of tough-as-nails runs, good for a 7.3 ypc average.
K Jordan Stout- Following a miserable season for Penn State’s special teams units, Stout proved to be a major “get” during the offseason. In his Nittany Lion debut, Stout had 13 touchbacks and nailed his only field goal attempt, a 53-yard blast that gave the team an early 6-0 lead before the offense fully kicked into gear.
QB Sean Clifford- After a few early misfires, Clifford settled in to take command of the offense and never looked back. In his first game as Penn State’s starting quarterback, Clifford connected on 14 of his 23 attempts for two touchdowns, and perhaps most importantly, no interceptions or even close calls of turning the ball over. He also proved to be an effective runner when he sees space in front of him, finishing second on the team with 57 rushing yards.