Fortunately for Penn State, its blowout loss to Ohio hasn’t proved more costly.
Starting quarterback Christian Hackenberg incurred an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder in the Buckeyes’ 49-point win Saturday night and ultimately left the game in the third quarter. While there was initial concern that the injury went beyond minor, those fears were alleviated earlier this week.
The true freshman was a full participant in Monday’s practice, leading head coach Bill O’Brien to say Tuesday Hackenberg will be “ready to go” for Saturday’s game against Illinois. And, it appears, he won’t be limited by any additional protective gear either.
“He won’t wear a protective — you know, other than, obviously, shoulder pads — but he won’t wear a protective device,” O’Brien said.
Even prior to the injury against the Buckeyes, Hackenberg was on his way to one of his worst games through seven starts. He wound up with his second-worst single-game completion percentage and pass efficiency rating while also tossing two interceptions for the second consecutive week and third time this season. All in all, though, Hackenberg has more than lived up to his five-star rating and is on track to collect multiple postseason conference and national honors.