QB Sean Clifford, No. 15 Penn State take on Idaho
Idaho (4-7 last season) at No. 15 Penn State (9-4), Saturday 3:30 p.m. ET (BTN).
Line: No line.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Penn State is looking for positive debuts from an offense featuring fresh faces at nearly every skill position including QB Sean Clifford and a defense that has the depth and talent to finish among the country’s best. Appalachian State forced overtime at Beaver Stadium last season and the Nittany Lions will want to avoid that scenario against an FCS foe.
Penn State’s offensive line vs. Idaho’s defensive line. The Vandals could make this interesting if DTs Jonah Kim and Noah Elliss can disrupt Penn State’s ground game. The Nittany Lions will be breaking in two new offensive linemen in tackle Rasheed Walker and guard C.J. Thorpe and will likely rotate running backs throughout the game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Idaho: WR Jeff Cotton. Per coach Paul Petrino, the Vandals will use both QBs Colton Richardson and Mason Petrino throughout the non-conference slate. Cotton, who led the team with seven touchdowns last year, is a big, physical receiver who could give Penn State’s secondary fits.
Penn State: RB Ricky Slade. Miles Sanders’ early departure for the NFL left a big hole at running back. Slade’s had a good camp after showing flashes of speed and physicality last season but will likely yield touches to Journey Brown and Noah Cain as the Nittany Lions try to find their groove.
FACTS & FIGURES
Penn State returns five starters on offense, six on defense and three specialists. . Of the 21 players listed on Idaho’s defensive depth chart, 12 have never played a snap for the Vandals. . The Nittany Lions haven’t lost a home opener since 2012 and have never fallen to an FCS team. . This is Penn State’s first FCS opponent in seven seasons. . Penn State starting linebacker Cam Brown will miss the first half as a result of a targeting penalty carried over from the Citrus Bowl.