Nittany Lions return for home opener against Zips

Story posted September 5, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by John McHugh

The Penn State Nittany Lions (1-0, 0-0 B1G) will open their home football schedule as they welcome the Akron Zips (1-0, 0-0 MAC) to Beaver Stadium Saturday for a 12 p.m. kick off.

This will be the fifth meeting between the two teams, with Penn State undefeated in previous meetings, having outscored the Zips 183-57. Akron will travel to Beaver Stadium again in 3 years to open up the 2017 season. 

Penn State is coming off of a last-second victory against UCF at Croke Park Stadium in Ireland, a game that saw sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg break the school’s single game passing record with 454 yards. Other bright spots included the emergence of redshirt freshman wide receiver Daesean Hamilton (11 receptions, 165 yards), and the success of senior kicker Sam Ficken (4-4 FG, game winning FG). Both Ficken and Hamilton earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors (freshman and special teams, respectively) for their performances.

The Nittany Lion defense however, did not play as well. Although strong throughout the first half and third quarter, the PSU defense allowed 14 points in the fourth quarter, which necessitated the game-winning drive and field goal. UCF was only able to gain 246 total yards of offense, but executed in big situations and late in the game.

A win would bring the Nittany Lions to 2-0 for the second consecutive season, a loss would drop them to 1-1 for the first time since 2011.

Akron opened their season last week with a 41-0 home win over FCS Howard University. Senior quarterback Kyle Pohl had the best game of his four-year career in that blowout, throwing for 308 yards and four touchdowns. Pohl’s performance was a part of an offensive onslaught that saw the Zips put up 506 yards of total offense. On the defensive side of the ball, Akron was one of six teams in the FBS to shut out its week one opponent. The shutout was Akron’s first in nearly four years.

An Akron win would earn them a 2-0 record for the first time since 1993, a loss would bring them down to 1-1 for the second straight year.

ComRadio’s coverage of Saturday’s contest kicks off at 9 a.m. with The Tailgate Show. Matt Lawrence and Phil Constantino will then be on the call live from Beaver Stadium at noon.

(Photo credit: AP Photo/PennLive.com, Joe Hermitt)

John McHugh is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jym5764@psu.edu.