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Lions Shutout Akron In Season Opener

04 September 2017

Saquon Barkley was sensational and a slew of receivers led by Juwan Johnson proved that Penn State will be just fine without Chris Godwin moving forward.

The Akron Zips will travel to Happy Valley to open their season against reigning Big Ten Champ Penn State.

"We have so many weapons that it's pick your poison", Barkley said.

Stevens and McSorley rushed for a touchdown each. Penn State K Tyler Davis, who was 22 of 24 on field goal attempts last season, missed a 39-yard attempt in the first half but rebounded with a career-best 47-yarder in the third quarter.

For good reason. By the time Barkley had nine carries himself, he had 145 yards, two touchdowns and almost a third when a step out of bounds turned an 87-yard score into a mere 80-yard stroll through a vacant Akron defense. His long run of the day went for 80 yards and was one of the most impressive runs anyone will see all season. And special teams even kicked in with DeAndre Thompkins' 61-yard punt return for a touchdown.

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Penn State didn't fall back on its odd 2016 habit of falling behind early, overwhelming Akron for a 35-0 halftime lead. It is also the longest active 35-point streak among Power 5 teams. "Which equates to probably the most complete game since we've been here".

Franklin called timeout when in-house replays showed on Beaver Stadium's massive, high-definition video boards indicated Barkley's heel might not have touched the chalk.

Barkley's dazzling skills helped the offense recover from an early red zone interception by McSorley.

Penn State's offensive line continued to make openings for Barkley. Barkley is the best running back in college football and arguably the best player regardless of position.

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"You learn from it". We won the Big Ten championship, we went to the Rose Bowl. "We played hard. We just didn't play great", Akron coach Terry Bowden said.

Penn State is the darling of the preseason, everyone seems to think they will contend for a conference and potential national title.

DeAndre Thompkins set a school record with an average of 31.8 yards on four punt returns. "I knew I had a good chance and I trusted my guys a lot".

Replacing both starting defensive ends is no joke, but Ryan Buchholz, Torrence Brown and Shareef Miller stepped in an did a nice job in their first game with increased playing time.

Did you notice?: Three true freshmen saw action for Penn State: cornerbacks Tariq Castro-Fields and Lamont Wade and defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, who had two tackles and a quarterback hurry. It was one of the most dominating season openers in nearly a decade and a first good step towards telling the nation that 2016 was no fluke. Barkley gained yards at will against an Akron defense that had no answer for his speed and quickness.

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Penn State's offense has been a historically good one for the program. This group began the season with energy and turned in explosive plays and scores on five of their seven first-half possessions.

Lions Shutout Akron In Season Opener