James Franklin’s Penn State Nittany Lions looked quite dominant in its season opener against Idaho. On the flip side, the prestigious program received criticism for apparently running up the score.
The Nittany Lions won 79-7 over the Vandals in a contest that was basically over heading into halftime. Starting quarterback Sean Clifford shined in his season debut with 280 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
While fans in Happy Valley must be thrilled about how their team looks heading into Week 2, James Franklin and the coaching staff have been dealing with questions about running up the score on a lesser opponent.
Franklin had an interesting response to those critics, saying “No one likes to see that, but I will tell you that those guys deserve to get in the game and play.”
He’s referring to the Penn State reserves that came in during the third quarter of action. They also had their way with Idaho last weekend.
Backup quarterback Will Levis completed 11-of-14 pass attempts for 62 yards and a touchdown. It became clear that even the second-string team for the Nittany Lions was too much to handle.
Franklin on the final score: "No one likes to see that, but I will tell you that those guys (reserves) deserve to get in the game and play."
— Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4) September 3, 2019
Scoring 79 points against any opponent might seem brutal, but James Franklin brought up a great point. It’s not like he left his starting lineup in the game for all four quarters.
The chances of Penn State frequently blowing out opponents during conference play are slim. Allowing the reserves to get quality minutes in the season opener gives the coaching staff to see how their backup options may perform down the stretch.
We’ll see if Penn State can continue its dominance on Saturday when it hosts Buffalo.