Indiana nearly beat number one ranked Ohio State two weeks ago, and many Penn State fans were nervous about the outcome of this weekend’s game. However, right from the get-go, it was clear that Penn State came to play.
Scoring their first touchdown in the middle of the first quarter, Penn State came out on fire. Indiana quickly returned the touchdown, but it was the only time that they would see the end zone that day. Immediately after the defensive mishap that led to Indiana’s touchdown, Penn State turned it up a notch.
Perhaps the most exciting stats of the day belong to junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va.). Hackenberg scored two touchdowns and shocked everyone by running the ball multiple times. It astonished fans and students to see number 14 barrel through Indiana’s players and cross the plane into scoring territory.
Hackenberg also threw for two 39 yard touchdowns: one to freshman wide receiver Brandon Polk (Ashburn, Va.) and one to redshirt sophomore wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton (Fredericksburg, Va.).
Head Coach James Franklin spoke highly regarding Hackenberg’s plays on Saturday.
“I thought he played really well, as a passer and as a runner and the way he managed the game. He did some great things, and there were a lot of positives for the offense today.”
Hackenberg spoke humbly of his phenomenal plays as well.
“I think it’s just one of those things you get a feel for and today I was able to get a feel for it.”
The vibes were all positive during the press conferences after the game.
The defense once again had a stellar game, only further proving that they deserve to be one of the best defensive lines the country has to offer. In fact, senior defensive end Carl Nassib (West Chester, Pa.) was ranked as having the most sacks in the country after Saturday’s rout of Indiana.
Junior linebacker Brandon Bell (Mays Landing, N.J.) said it best.
When asked about how five-straight wins at home has impacted the Nittany Lions, who are now 5-1 and 2-0 in the Big Ten, senior safety Jordan Lucas (New Rochelle, N.Y.) noted that the team keeps getting better each week. Lucas went on to say that each game represents progress, and that the squad is now “in the groove” when it comes to reading plays and each other.
Coach Franklin faced a much more positive media post-game this week and was able to compliment both the defense and offensive on a solid performance.
“Our defense was put in a few tough situations and handled it extremely well. I thought we were much more aggressive on offense in the passing game, made some plays…We did some nice things. It was a great team win.”
Franklin could not be more right. Saturday reminded fans that the unified, dedicated squad of Nittany Lions is still here, still fighting each and every day to be their best on and off the field. This coming Saturday the Lions take on Ohio State in Columbus at 8 p.m. If this weekend was any indication of what Penn State is capable of, then Ohio State should be prepared to fight harder than they have fought this season because the Nittany Lions are hungry to go 6-1 and will stop at nothing to get there.