Penn State freshman QB Christian Hackenberg had a statement game Saturday at Beaver Stadium and after battling with the No. 18 Michigan during regulation and 4 OTs, he might have given head coach Bill O’Brien the biggest win since arriving at State College, PA two years ago.
The 18-year-old freshman (who passed for 305 yards) threw three touchdown passes in the first half to stake Penn State to a 21-10 lead. After throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble in the first half, Michigan QB Devin Gardner put the Wolverines ahead with touchdown passes in the third and fourth quarters.
After a pass interference call on third down that kept the drive alive, Gardner connected with Jeremy Gallon for a 16-yard TD pass for a 27-24 lead with 28 seconds left in the third. Mid-fourth quarter, Gardner ran five plays to hit Devin Funchess in the back of the end zone for a 37-yard TD and a 34-24 Michigan lead.
Penn State kicker Sam Ficken hit a 43-yarder with 6:35 left to make it 34-27 during regulation, keeping Hackenberg and the Nittany Lions alive for one thrilling finish.
|Michigan #18 (5-1)||10||0||17||7||0||3||0||3||40|
|Penn State (4-2)||7||14||3||10||0||3||0||6||43|
Hackenberg completed passes of 29 yards to Brandon Felder and 33 yards to Allen Robinson to bring the ball to the 1 with 29 seconds left. The freshman quarterback sneaked in for the first rushing TD against Michigan this season, tying the game at 34-all.
Michigan (5-1, 1-1) was trying to grab the win on the foot of their kicker Brendan Gibbons, but Gibbons missed a 52-yarder with 2 seconds left in regulation.
Moving forward to the 4th overtime, PSU star receiver Allen Robinson came up big, without even catching the ball. He drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone that set up the winning run. The game was left in running back Bill Benton’s hands and he delivered with a 2-yard run into the end zone and then the party was on in Beaver Stadium as the Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) stormed the field in wild celebration, sending more than 100,000 fans into a frenzy.