Skip to content

Hackenberg grows up in big way as Penn State tanks Wisconsin

AP Photo/Morry Gash AP

Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien is known for putting his quarterbacks to the test. This afternoon in Madison, Wisconsin freshman Christian Hackenberg aced his final exam for the season in a resounding way. Hackenberg passed for 339 yards and four touchdowns as Penn State (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten) upset No. 15 Wisconsin (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten) in a 31-24.

Penn State had to hang on to this one though, and they responded well. After seeing a 31-14 lead whittled away to a seven-point advantage late in the fourth quarter, Penn State was faced with a 3rd and 9 after the eighth false start penalty on the offensive line. Rather than try to pass, Penn State kept it on the ground with Wisconsin out of timeouts. A draw play to Zach Zwinak worked beautifully with a 61-yard run up the middle to keep the drive alive and to run some more clock off. Penn State managed to get the game clock down to 35 seconds before asking Sam Ficken to convert a 31-yard field goal, which he missed. That left Wisconsin with just 31 seconds to drive the length of the field. The defense held on with a late stand despite the Badgers moving down field quickly. Ryan Keiser picked off a deep pass to the end zone to clinch the victory.

Penn State’s Allen Robinson turned in another fine performance with 122 yards on nine receptions. Eugene Lewis scored two touchdowns and added 91 yards to compliment Robinson’s day. Wisconsin receiver Jared Abrbederis led the Badgers with 114 yards.

Penn State did a great job holding down Wisconsin’s running game. Melvin Gordon and James White were never able to bust any big runs against a Penn State defense that figured to be vulnerable against the run. Wisconsin tried to get Joel Stave to lead the charge in the passing game but that often backfired on the Badgers.

The loss for Wisconsin takes the Badgers out of the conversation for a BCS at-large invite. Much of the week had centered on a debate between Wisconsin and Michigan State as the potential second Big Ten team in the BCS, but that debate has been silenced. Wisconsin had played in three straight Rose Bowls and had a decent argument to be considered for an at-large bid this season if there was an opening. Wisconsin will still be playing in a January 1 bowl game in the Big Ten line-up and should be a tough opponent for whatever team they get paired up with.

Penn State’s season is over of course despite a second straight winning season under O’Brien. This marks the completion of the second of four seasons serving a postseason ban for the Nittany Lions. O’Brien is now 3-2 against top 25 teams in his short coaching career. Penn State had lost eight straight games against ranked opponents prior to the hiring of O’Brien.

Permalink 12 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Big Ten Conference, Penn State Nittany Lions, Rumor Mill, Top Posts, Wisconsin Badgers
12 Responses to “Hackenberg grows up in big way as Penn State tanks Wisconsin”
  1. chiefagc5675 says: Nov 30, 2013 8:06 PM

    Joe Paterno must have enjoyed the past two years of Penn State football. Despite the NCAA’s best efforts to kill PSU combined with the Pa. Gov. and the ex-FBI sellout’s hatchet job on Paterno the team posted two winning seasons despite the loss of key players and scholarships.
    Screw you NCAA and the Pa. voters will take care of the pathetic Gov.- now who will nail the FBI guy for lying?

  2. tomdrum7 says: Nov 30, 2013 9:40 PM

    The bowl ban will end as of next year. Mitchell wouldn’t say it but the dollars the B10 is missing from one of the best fan bases will mean the end of PSU from bowl play.

  3. tomdrum7 says: Nov 30, 2013 9:47 PM

    Oh and by the way, Hackenberg will be in the Hiseman race in year 2 or 3.

  4. sportsguy3434 says: Nov 30, 2013 10:10 PM

    Congrats to PSU for winning under extraordinary conditions the last two years.

    Good thing the Badgers are rid of that coach who could only win the conference every year. People don’t realize how hard it is to win multiple conference champs.

  5. wisconsinhillfolk says: Nov 30, 2013 10:35 PM

    I wouldn’t trade Gary Anderson for Brett Bielema. Anderson’s first season wasn’t so bad.

    We’ll be back.

  6. wmatthew760 says: Nov 30, 2013 10:36 PM

    Robinson could be in the hiseman race as well.

  7. philliesblow says: Nov 30, 2013 10:49 PM

    Thank you Penn State on behalf of Spartans everywhere!

  8. @Cereal_22 says: Nov 30, 2013 10:59 PM

    C-Hack, #1 pick in the draft after two more seasons. I hate to see him go but he’ll be that good…..WE ARE !

  9. powercorrupts2 says: Dec 1, 2013 12:49 AM

    I imagine O’Brien probably motivated his team for the game by telling them that it was their “bowl game” against a ranked opponent and their chance to have a winning season. Wisconsin probably thought they were just playing a crippled team with 10 fewer scholarship players, that lost several of their best players to transfer, with no chance for a bowl game and a 6-5 record. They may have forgotten that the emotion with which a team plays is a major factor in college football.

  10. mediocrebob says: Dec 1, 2013 1:38 AM

    Another ‘great’ big ten team loses to another mediocre big ten team. Yawn….

  11. dmvtransplant says: Dec 1, 2013 1:55 AM

    @ mediocrebob

    Stanford lost to Utah, are you saying the PAC-12 is weak?

  12. lrg51 says: Dec 1, 2013 8:50 AM

    Hackenberg is a rising star!!

    Penn State is very fortunate to have Bill OBrien as their coach. Thank you coach and players.

    FUCK the NCAA!!! Great game!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!