Kicker Jordan Stout Shines In Penn State Football Debut
Penn State football kicked off its 2019 season in emphatic fashion thanks to a 79-7 demolition of Idaho on Saturday.
Although most might point to Penn State’s new-look, up-tempo offense or the dominant defensive performance as the driving forces behind the blowout, kicker Jordan Stout played a huge role in keeping the Vandals at bay throughout Saturday’s contest.
Stout only joined James Franklin’s program in June of this year, but there’s no questioning his impact on the team’s first game of the season. While Sean Clifford and the Penn State offense were still settling into the contest, Stout drilled a 53-yard field goal attempt in a big spot to extend his team’s lead to 6-0.
Jake Pinegar is a reliable sophomore entering his second season as Penn State’s first-choice placekicker, but head coach James Franklin brought Stout on in that particular situation because of his booming leg. Stout delivered and is now tied for the sixth-longest converted field goal in Penn State football history.
The Virginia Tech transfer’s cannon of a right leg was on full display against Idaho. All 13 of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks, and only one of them failed to reach the goal line on Saturday.
“I thought Jordan Stout, 53-yard field goal, tied for the sixth longest in Penn State history — was fantastic,” Franklin said. “I remember on the headset, coaches were talking about [Dan] Chisena being tired because he was on four special teams units. I said, ‘what about Stout’s leg?’ He had a really good game for us.”
Stout’s efforts helped Penn State comfortably win the drive-start battle against the Vandals. On average, Idaho’s offensive possessions began at its own 30-yard line, and the Nittany Lions’ began at their 42-yard marker. The fact that Stout managed to record 13 touchbacks was the driving force behind that particular win for Penn State.
None of Stout’s teammates were surprised to see Stout perform so well on Saturday. Senior cornerback John Reid recalled James Franklin backing up Stout’s kickoff to the 20-yard line in practice on purpose, but he still managed to blast the ball through the back of the end zone.
“The wind was to his back,” Reid said. “I thought [moving him back] was unnecessary, because he was going to kick it through the end zone anyway.”
Beyond his strong performance Saturday, Stout has fit in with Penn State despite joining the team later on in the offseason. He’s even fired up a bit of a hairstyle competition with starting punter Blake Gillikin, who sported the following mullet throughout training camp:
On the other side of the competition, Stout rocks a classic grown-out look with his hair. Although the newest specialist on the Nittany Lions has some pretty luscious flow, Gillikin thinks he’s the runaway winner of this particular hair contest.
“Anyone can grow their hair out, but it takes some guts to do what I did,” Gillikin said. “I kind of committed to it — I sat down in the barber’s chair and was kind of second-guessing myself. Once he made the first cut, it was kind of over from there.”
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With barely six weeks until the first ball is kicked for the 2020 campaign, let’s see how the Nittany Lions might line up.
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