UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 6 Penn State (1-0) excelled in all three phases against Akron, totaling 569 yards of offense, earning a shutout and returning a punt for a touchdown in a 52-0 victory in the football season opener for both teams Saturday afternoon in Beaver Stadium.
Saquon Barkley led a Penn State rushing attack that totaled 247 yards with 172 markers and two touchdowns on 14 carries, and he totaled 246 all-purpose yards with the addition of 54 receiving yards and 20 kickoff return yards. Quarterback Trace McSorley threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to tight end Mike Gesicki, who caught a career-high six passes for 58 yards. The unit’s 569 yards of total offense were its most since recording 599 last season vs. Iowa.
Defensively, Penn State did not allow Akron (0-1) past midfield in the first half, holding the Zips to just 69 yards, while the offense gained 358 en route to a 35-0 lead at halftime. PSU’s shutout was the first in a season opener since a 59-0 win over FIU in 2007. The defense also combined for 14 tackles for loss for 36 yards for its most TFLs since tallying 15 at Temple in 2015.