PENN STATE 45, EASTERN MICHIGAN 7
at Beaver Stadium, State College
Eastern Michigan`7`0`0`0` — `7
Penn State`7`10`7`21` — `45
EMU—Matt 11 fumble return (Mulder kick), 4:01.
PSU—Zwinak 2 run (Ficken kick), 1:41.
PSU—Belton 5 run (Ficken kick), 14:08.
PSU—FG Ficken 39, :17.
PSU—Zwinak 7 run (Ficken kick), 2:09.
PSU—A.Robinson 45 pass from Hackenberg (Ficken kick), 12:25.
PSU—Belton 51 run (Ficken kick), 9:47.
PSU—Lynch 18 run (Ficken kick), 4:26.
|Time of Possession`||31:43`||28:17|
RUSHING—E. Michigan, Hill 13-38, Jackson 8-19, Brumfield 5-16,
Greene 1-2, Benz 6-(minus 4), Team 2-(minus 10). Penn St., Belton 9-108,
Lynch 13-108, Zwinak 7-43, Walker 3-8, Hackenberg 7-(minus 16).
PASSING—E. Michigan, Benz 17-26-0-115, Roback 1-2-0-7. Penn St.,
Hackenberg 23-33-1-311, Ferguson 2-2-0-12.
RECEIVING—E. Michigan, Russell 8-73, Alford 3-16, Do.Scott 2-14,
Creel 2-7, Reed 1-6, J.Jones 1-5, Hill 1-1. Penn St., A.Robinson 7-129,
Felder 6-56, James 2-46, Kenney 2-17, Carter 2-16, Anderson 2-13,
Belton 1-21, Zanellato 1-17, Lewis 1-5, Zwinak 1-3.
EMU — Hunter Matt 11-yard fumble return (Dylan Mulder kick), 4:01. Analysis: Making his first start at an NFL stadium didn’t seem to bother Christian Hackenberg. But the Lions quarterback looked every bit like a true freshman on his first three drives at Beaver Stadium. After starting 1-for-5 because of some jittery overthrows, things get worse for the rookie on the third drive. Hackenberg simply drops the ball going back for a pass, gift-wrapping an easy touchdown for the Eagles. Matt gets credit for a sack and has no issues scooping up the loose ball and stunning the Penn State partisans with a defensive touchdown. EASTERN MICHIGAN 7, PENN STATE 0.
PSU — Zach Zwinak 2-yard run (Sam Ficken kick), 1:41. Drive: 6 plays, 67 yards, 2:14. Analysis: Bill O’Brien isn’t about to shackle his freshman quarterback because of a poor start. After handing Eastern Michigan a touchdown, Hackenberg comes out firing on the next drive, placing a well-thrown deep ball to Allen Robinson, who lays out for a 43-yard catch that’s upheld by a replay review. That sets up the Lions’ first rushing score of the season after Robinson draws a pass interference flag in the end zone. Zwinak rumbles off right tackle and drives a defender backward at the goal line for the touchdown. EMU 7, PSU 7.
PSU — Bill Belton 5-yard run (Ficken kick), 14:08. Drive: 6 plays, 68 yards, 1:02. Analysis: That didn’t take long. Hackenberg manages to find his sea legs to command a productive drive out of O’Brien’s no-huddle “NASCAR” package. Looking much calmer, Hackenberg connects with Matt Zanellato and Jesse James for big gains to set up a pair of nice runs by Belton, the first off right tackle and the second up the middle for the score, making a man miss. It’s Belton’s first rushing score in Beaver Stadium after scoring on a swing pass in last year’s home opener. He had three touchdowns last October against Iowa but spent much of November on the sideline. PSU 14, EMU 7.
PSU — Ficken 39-yard field goal, 0:17. Drive: 8 plays, 67 yards, 1:55. Analysis: A year ago this week, Sam Ficken was being tormented by fans on social media after missing four kicks and an extra point in a one-point loss at Virginia. One year later, the junior set a new Penn State record for consecutive made field goals. Ficken connects on his 14th straight, dating back to last season. The kick breaks a record set by Craig Fayak, who hit 13 in a row in the 1992 season. He almost didn’t get the chance to attempt it as Hackenberg missed a wide-open Richy Anderson earlier in the two-minute drill, which was also derailed by back-to-back holding flags. PSU 17, EMU 7.
PSU — Zwinak 7-yard run (Ficken kick), 2:09. Drive: 6 plays, 33 yards, 2:27. Analysis: Sluggish on offense to start the second half, the Lions defense creates great field position to set up Zwinak’s second score of the day. A sack by defensive tackle DaQuan Jones brings up a punt that gives the Lions the ball at the Eagles’ 33. Hackenberg is sacked twice, but Zwinak gains 20 yards on third-and-24 to convince Bill O’Brien to keep the offense on the field for fourth down. Hackenberg hits Brandon Felder out in the left flat for the conversion and Zwinak rumbles off of left tackle on the very next play for the score. PSU 24, EMU 7.
PSU — Allen Robinson 45-yard pass from Christian Hackenberg (Ficken kick), 12:25. Drive: 6 plays, 84 yards, 2:29. Analysis: For the second straight week, Hackenberg shows off both the mistakes and the promise that comes from raw talent. This one falls into the latter category as he avoids pressure by stepping way up in the pocket, stopping before hitting the line of scrimmage and launching a deep ball to a wide-open Robinson for the score. The throw gave Hackenberg the school record for passing yards in a game by a freshman. PSU 31, EMU 7.
PSU — Belton 51-yard run (Ficken kick), 9:47. Drive: 4 plays, 83 yards, 1:13. Analysis: And it’s good night for the Eagles, who are thoroughly worn down by this point. With O’Brien getting an extended look at both Belton and Akeel Lynch in the backfield, both get their opportunities to shine. Belton breaks off the longest run of his career, hitting a huge hole in the middle of the line and finding nothing but grass between him and the end zone. The touchdown gives him his first career 100-yard game. PSU 38, EMU 7.
PSU — Akeel Lynch 18-yard run (Ficken kick), 4:26. Drive: 7 plays, 77 yards, 3:28. Analysis: Not to be outdone, Lynch and quarterback Tyler Ferguson lead the second team offense into the end zone for one last touchdown. On the same day that the No. 22 Lynch shares with John Cappelletti was scheduled to be retired, the redshirt freshman does the number proud. It’s Lynch’s first career score and it gives him 100 yards on the ground to boot. PSU 45, EMU 7.