The big question Penn State had heading into the 2013 Football season was "Who would be the starting Quarterback?" True Freshman Christian Hackenberg was given the nod over JUCO transfer Tyler Ferguson(who did play one series before fumbling the football after just two plays). Despite very little offensive production, Penn State's offense move the ball and Place Kicker Sam Ficken connected on two Field Goals(FG) (35, 36 yds) to give Penn State a 6-3 lead heading into halftime.(Ficken would connect on a 46 yarder, longest of his career later in the second half and has now made 13 consecutive FG's dating back to last season.)
Wide Receiver Allen Robinson, who did not play in the first half for reasons unknown, (according to Head Coach Bill O'Brien it was a matter between him and Allen) made a huge impact immediately! On the Nittany Lions first possession of the second half, it only took two plays for them to find the endzone thanks to (Allen) Robinson who caught two passes for a total of 76 yards in just a 34 second time span. (Robinson would finish the day with 7 catches for 133 receiving yards and a Touchdown(TD), all in the second half!) The touchdown gave the Nittany Lions a 13-3 lead. The lead would not last long, as Syracuse responded with a quick TD of its own, trimming Penn State's lead back down to three at 13-10.
Ficken's third FG of the game extended Penn State's lead to 16-10. On the Nittany Lions first play of the 4th Quarter, Christian Hackenberg set up a "Play-Action Fake" and found Redshirt Freshman Wideout, Eugene Lewis for a 54 yard TD reception to give Penn State a seemingly commanding 23-10 lead. Hackenberg did have some critical mistakes to go with his positive outputs. Looking to run some clock out and possibly expand on their lead, Hackenberg threw an interception, which Syracuse returned all the way inside Penn State's 5. The Orange would capitalize on this turnover with just one play and cut Penn State's lead down quickly to 23-17.
Penn State's Defense hung tough though. Defensive Tackle DaQuan Jones had a big game, registering 9 Tackles (including 1 Sack and 3 Tackles For Losses(TFL). The Nittany Lions secondary, which consisted of Jordan Lucas, Trevor Williams, Malcolm Willis, Stephen Obeng-Agyapong(whom also registered a sack) among others, came up with some nice defensive plays by getting a hand on the ball and breaking up passes. (Trevor) Williams sealed the game for Penn State with an interception with just two minutes remaining and the Nittany Lions would run out the clock and start its 2013 campaign with a win.
Unsung Hero-Garry Gilliam, made an open field tackle after an interception by Syracuse and in the process, saved giving up a TD. (Syracuse would end up with 0 points off the turnover as they missed a FG attempt on their possession following the turnover.)
Penn State was just 1 for 16 on 3rd down conversions
Penn State Linebacker Mike Hull, is listed day to day along with Tight End Kyle Carter. Tight End Matt Lehman is lost for the season after injuring his knee in the 2nd Quarter.
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