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Penn State, Gross-Matos Top Week 1 NCAA Rankings

by on September 01, 2019 10:00 AM

After mashing Idaho 79-7, Penn State dominates the NCAA’s Week 1 major college football statistical rankings this week, ranking No. 1 in eight different team categories.

Individually, Nittany Lion defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos ranks No. 1 in sacks, with two solo sacks and one assist for a 2.5 total. Nineteen players have two sacks.

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford, who completed 14 of 23 passes for 280 yards and two TDs after a shaky 1-of-4 start in his debut, ranks No. 2 in the nation in yards per completion (20) and No. 3 in yards per attempt (12.17).

Clifford was by bolstered by receptions of 36, 36, 22 and 21 yards by KJ Hamler, 26 by Ricky Slade, 25 by Pat Freiermuth and 20 by Daniel George.

Hamler ranks No. 2 the nation in TD receptions, with two. Both came in a 24-point Penn State second quarter, when the redshirt sophomore wide receiver had scoring grabs of 36 and 21 yards.

Nationally, Hamler ranks No. 24 for all-purpose yards, with 115 receiving yards (on four catches), 16 rushing yards (one carry) and 28 punt return yards (four returns).

See Penn State's complete NCAA rankings by clicking here.

The rankings could change slightly as two major college games remain on the Week 1 slate: Houston at No. 4 Oklahoma on Sunday and No. 9 Notre Dame at Louisville on Monday.


Overall nationally, Penn State ranks No. 1 in points scored (79) and winning percentage, sharing a 1-0 mark with 81 other teams.

Penn State’s offense ranks No. 1 in sacks allowed (0), passes intercepted (0) and red zone offense (100%). It ranks No. 4 in total offense (673 yards) and first downs (35), and No. 8 in rushing yards (331).

Penn State’s defense ranks No. 1 in fourth-down conversions (Idaho was 0-for-2, including a failed try on the game’s opening drive), No. 2 in third-down conversions (1 of 15, 6.7%), No. 3 in first downs (5) and No. 4 in team sacks (7).

The Nittany Lions’ special teams are a mixed bag. They rank No. 1 in kickoff return defense (0 yards) and blocked punts (1). But Joe Lorig’s group also ranks No. 121 in net punting average (22.5 yards) and blocked punts allowed (1).

The most troubling stat for the Nittany Lions, who almost comically manhandled a very over-matched Idaho of the FCS in the season opener — scoring the sixth-most points in Penn State history — was their performance on third down. Penn State converted just 1 of 8 third-down attempts, for a woeful 12.5% conversion percentage.

Penn State hosts Buffalo — a 38-10 winner over Robert Morris in Week 1 — next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Beaver Stadium.

Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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Penn State Football: Handing Out The Grades Following The Nittany Lions' 79-7 Win Over Idaho
September 01, 2019 8:00 AM
by Ben Jones
Penn State Football: Handing Out The Grades Following The Nittany Lions' 79-7 Win Over Idaho
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