Penn State bests Kent State in Decisive 33-13 Win
This season, Penn State has a lot of young talent, especially at the helm with redshirt sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.). There was a lot of anxiety and anticipation before the battle against Kent State as to whether or not McSorley would be able to step up to the plate and deliver. He did that and then some.
McSorley completed 16 of 31 passes for a total of 209 yards. He also notched two touchdowns to start off his career as the starting quarterback for the Nittany Lions. McSorley was fearless in battle, taking numerous hits and tackles. Likewise, McSorley played it smart and ran when it was right, and passed when the opportunity was there.
Other notable players include Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.), who led the rushing attack with 105 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown, DaeSean Hamilton (Fredericksburg, Va.), and Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J.), both of who also notched touchdowns to start off the season.
Young talent is key for the success of Penn State this season, and young talent delivered indeed. An astounding six players made their first career starts this past weekend: Ryan Bates (Warrington, Pa.), McSorley, Evan Schwan (Harrisburg, Pa.), Kevin Givens (Altoona, Pa.), Parker Cothren (Huntsville, Ala.), and Blake Gillikin (Smyrna, Ga.).
Speaking of Blake Gillikin, Penn State’s punting saw immediate improvement the second Gillikin touched the ball. Gillikin’s accuracy and skill gave the defense a good chance to defend the next possession, which was a key factor in the Nittany Lions’ success on Saturday.
The defensive line, as per usual, came out strong and ready to go.
Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J.) led the defense with 11 tackles against the Golden Flashes, followed by eight by Brandon Bell (Mays Landing, N.J.) and six by Garrett Sickels (Red Bank, N.J.).
Safety Marcus Allen (Upper Marlboro, Md.) was instrumental when he forced a fumble and then recovered one, which led to Barkley’s touchdown.
Despite starting off slow (Kent State scored first), Penn State came roaring back in the second half with new energy and motivation, and dominated the field from there.
Although the young team of Nittany Lions has some areas to improve upon, they showed immense improvement already from last season.
Beaver Stadium, of course, did not disappoint, as it was filled to the brim with alums, fans, and families alike all gathered to celebrate the start of what will be an epic season.
Penn State plays at Heinz Field next weekend in a historic rivalry battle against the Pitt Panthers. The game will air on ESPN at noon.