Quarterback Sean Clifford passed for 280 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start as No. 15 Penn State routed visiting Idaho 79-7 in the season opener for both teams on Saturday.
K.J. Hamler caught touchdown passes of 36 and 21 yards. Journey Brown and Noah Cain rushed for two touchdowns apiece.
Clifford was 14 of 23 in slightly more than one half and was replaced by freshman Will Levis.
Penn State’s 79-point performance was its most since 1991 against Cincinnati.
Idaho starting quarterback Mason Petrino was 11 of 17 for 91 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
The Nittany Lions were utterly dominant in scoring on their first four possessions for a 20-0 advantage. After a pair of field goals by two different kickers, Brown scampered 23 yards for a touchdown and Ricky Slade scored from 1 yard out for a 20-point lead with 1:50 left in the first quarter.
Following Hamler’s 36-yard touchdown grab, true freshman Devyn Ford ran 81 yards for a commanding 34-0 lead with 4:27 remaining in the second.
Idaho’s offense continued to scuffle the entire first half with 47 total yards and one first down. The Vandals were limited to minus-25 yards rushing.
Both Idaho quarterbacks — Petrino and Colton Richardson — struggled to move the offense. Petrino and Richardson combined for a minus-47 yards rushing in the first half.
Idaho’s offensive line also scuffled as Penn State recorded six first half sacks to spearhead a 44-0 halftime lead.
The Nittany Lions opened the second half the same way as they scored on their initial drive with Brown running in from 2 yards out for a 51-0 advantage.
Following an interception by Petrino, Cain responded and eventually scored from 3 yards out for a 58-0 lead.
Idaho finally got on the scoreboard with 12:35 remaining in the fourth as Petrino connected on a 1-yard touchdown pass to Logan Kendall. It was the first career touchdown for Kendall.
Still, the Vandals trailed 65-7.
Cain’s second rushing touchdown extended the blowout lead to 72-7 with 7:48 left.
—Field Level Media