Hackenberg saw immediate field time as the Big 10’s only true freshman quarterback in 2013. In fact, Hackenberg was selected as the 2013 Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Playing under then Head Coach Bill O’Brien, Hackenberg quickly made a name for himself as a new Nittany Lion. Hackenberg broke a Penn State overall passing record as well as shattered 12 Penn State freshman passing records. Responsible for 20 touchdown passes in 2013, one of “the Hack’s” most notable plays was during the Wisconsin game (11/30) when he launched a 68 yard pass to Adam Breneman (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) for the winning touchdown in the 31-24 nailbiter.
Fall 2014 was a transitional season for the Nittany Lions as they welcomed Head Coach James Franklin and his staff to Happy Valley. Working with a new coach and staff presented challenges for the entire squad, but Hackenberg persevered in an admirable fashion. In fact, despite a just-above 500 season, Hackenberg set a new standard by breaking all former Penn State records and becoming ranked first in his 300-yard passing game. This season was exceptionally remarkable thanks to an opening game at the Croke Park Classic (8/30) in Dublin, Ireland. Penn State faced off against a solid team from the University of Central Florida. Thanks to an incredible passing game by Hackenberg, the Lions were able retake the lead from UCF and bring home the squad’s first win of the season.
Fast forward to the present. The fall 2015 season is off to a rough start at 0-1 thanks to a surprising defeat at Temple last weekend. After quite literally burying the Temple tape (under the practice field at the Lasch Football building), all team members, especially Hackenberg, are hyped up to play against the University of Buffalo this Saturday. This past week practice has focused on a more communicative offensive line, and the squad is hoping their hard work comes to light this Saturday from kickoff to the final whistle. The University of Buffalo won their first game of the season against FCS-level Albany, 51-14, last week.
Although Hackenberg often receives criticism, it is important to note that after two different head coaches, some difficult games, and more than a few bumps and bruises, Hackenberg still fights each and every practice, lifting session, and game day to make every fan Penn State Proud. Get ready to hear Beaver Stadium roar at the noon kickoff against Buffalo, this Saturday, September 10!