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Penn State’s 79-7 Blowout of Idaho: This Spud’s for You

by on August 31, 2019 9:20 PM

The easy thing to do after Penn State’s full-on 79-7 blowout of Idaho is to make light of Idaho, a half-baked FCS team that was clearly outmanned.

To note that we should have seen this coming, Idaho having lost year’s season-opener 79-13 and last year’s season-ender 63-10.

That Idaho is not at its best when playing on the road against major college teams; for instance:

2018 — lost 79-13, at Fresno State

2008 — lost 70-0, at Arizona

2004 — lost 65-7, at Boise State

1961 — lost 51-0, at Oregon

1946 — lost 45-0, at Stanford

That Idaho was clearly a team that had intentionally downsized — going from FBS status just a few years ago to FCS level, commitment and ability the last two.

That Idaho held Penn State’s offense to just 1 of 8 on third-down conversions — and still gave up 79 points.

That Penn State freshman running Devyn Ford gained one yard on his first collegiate carry — and 81 yards and a TD on his second.

That Joe Jonas showed up and everyone wanted to know where Sophie was.

That Idaho had just four yards rushing on 28 carries, managed only five first downs and was just 1 of 15 on third downs.

That Penn State has played 1,321 games and only once since 1947 has it scored more than the 79 it hung on Idaho on Sunday (81 vs. Cincinnati in the 1991 home opener).

That other than Cincy, the last time Penn State scored more than 79 points in a game was 93 years ago and that the all-time single-scoring chart for Penn State now looks like this:

109 — Lebanon Valley College (109-7), 1920

99 — St. Bonaventure (99-0), 1917

82 — Susquehanna (82-0), 1926

81 — Cincinnati (81-0), 1991

79 — Geneva (79-0), 1916

79 — Idaho (79-7), 2019

That in the post-game press conference, no one asked James Franklin about his team scoring an absurdly-high number of points. (The presser ended with the microphone in my right hand and how he felt about that point total on my lips.)

That Yetur Gross-Matos’ sack of back-up Idaho quarterback Clinton Richardson was just three pounds shy of a double Gross, given that the 6-foot-4 Richardson weighs in at 285 pounds.

That Penn State’s kicker is so (Jason) Stout that he kicked off 13 times and got 13 touchbacks.

That Idaho punter Cade Coffey booted it 12 times, netting just 31.7 yards per kick, and managing all of 18, 24 and 23 yards to start the first quarter.

That according to the official participation report, Penn State played 72 players — with two of them making field goals, five running backs scoring touchdowns and 26 players having a hand in a tackle.

That Penn State scored 20 or more points in three of four quarters vs. Idaho — compared to only four 20-point quarters in all of 2018.

That Appalachian State was a terrific season- and home-opener in 2018.

That future Penn State season-openers will be tougher. Much tougher:

2020 – Nevada (which beat Purdue 34-31 on Friday when a walk-on freshman kicker made a walk-off 56-yard field goal), at Beaver Stadium

2021 — at Wisconsin

2022 — at Purdue

2023 — West Virginia, at Beaver Stadium

That it was an unavoidable crime the Vandals were in the schedule — the game was scheduled back in 2015, back when they were an FBS team.

That it was a guaranteed win for Penn State.

And that it was a guaranteed payday of $1.45 million for the University of Idaho athletic department, according to USA Today

That the $1.45 mil will fund 22% of Idaho’s football program, which in 2018 had revenues of $6.53 million, while its athletic department had a $19.5 million budget.

(That in comparison, in 2018 Penn State’s football program grossed $100 million, had $45 million in expenses and netted $55 million. Of those expenses, $2.5 million went in guarantees to Beaver Stadium non-conference visitors Appalachian State and Kent State.)

That 50 points against Buffalo and 40 against Pitt are very possible. Even likely.

That defense will still be Penn State’s strong suit.

And that we may not really know how good these Nittany Lions really are until at least October 5, when Purdue is in town for Homecoming.

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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