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What Christian Hackenberg Looked Like From Every Angle on Saturday Night

by on September 14, 2014 10:50 AM

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- This is what Christian Hackenberg looks like if it's his final 109-second drive of the game against Rutgers Saturday night and Penn State is down 10-6:

53-yard pass to Geno Lewis. Incomplete pass to Geno Lewis.

8-yard pass to DaeSean Hamilton. 19-yard pass to Jesse James, called back on a holding penalty. 23-yard pass to Lewis.

Hand off to Bill Belton for a 1-yard run. Hand off to Belton for a 5-yard winning touchdown run.

This is what Christian Hackenberg looks like if you’re Geno Lewis:

“Sometimes he puts the ball where other people can’t. It’s a God-given talent. I can’t believe some of the throws he makes. I’m happy he’s here.”

This is what Christian’s Hackenberg looks like if you tally up his win-loss record over his past half-dozen games:

5-1.

This is what Christian Hackenberg looks like if you are scanning his first-half statistics against Rutgers:

9 of 17 for 79 yards, two sacks, six runs for 10 yards, 0 points.

This is what Christian Hackenberg looks like if you break out only his third- and fourth-quarter stats against Rutgers:

16 of 27 for 230 yards, three sacks, one interception, six runs for eight yards, 13 points.

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This what Christian Hackenberg’s average full-game numbers look like through the first 15 contests of his Penn State career:

21 of 35 for 269 yards, with one interception and 1.6 TD passes – fairly close to what he did in half a game vs. Rutgers.

This what Christian Hackenberg looks like if you’re Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood, whose team held Penn State to six points through the first 58 minutes and 47 seconds of your team’s first-ever game in the Big Ten Conference:

“He’s poised. He’s a good player. We knew that going in. He’s one of the better quarterbacks in the country, and I think we sacked him five times. He stays in there and again makes the play at the end of the game.”

This is what Christian Hackenberg looks like if you’re James Franklin, who is 3-0 in his first year at Penn State and 2-0 in games your quarterback has led game-winning scoring drives in the final seconds:

“When you’re getting pressured and sacked, and our running game is not where we want it to be, it puts a lot on his shoulders. The receivers have made plays for him, the tight ends have made plays for him, we did get a little bit of the running game going there in the second half, but I think he’s handled that extremely well. …Overall, he’s poised, he’s steady. He’s a lot more athletic than people realize. He’s been able to move the pocket, break some tackles and extend plays and pick up some yards with his feet.”

This is what Christian Hackenberg looks like if you’re Franklin and need to keep him healthy after he was sacked five times and had run 12 times:

“We got to protect him and we got to run the ball more.”

This is what Christian Hackenberg looks like if you’re scanning the Big Ten weekly statistics, which list him as the top quarterback in the conference:

79 of 128, 61.7%, 1,082 yards, 5 interceptions, 4 TD passes, 8.5 yards per attempt, 360.7 yards per game.

This is what Christian Hackenberg looks like if you’re Penn State cornerback Trevor Williams, who had two picks against Rutgers, but has a tougher challenge every day in practice:

“Hackenberg practices how he plays. He’s one of the most competitive guys I’ve ever been around. That’s his greatest advantage. He makes those throws where you’re asking yourself, ‘How did he make that?’ I have no clue. He works at it. He’s never content.”

This is what Christian Hackenberg looks like if you’re Penn State center Angelo Mangiro, who is as close to the sophomore quarterback as anybody:

“He stepped up tremendously this year and was voted a captain for the way he worked and approached things. His demeanor kept us going all night. He’s a guy we rely on and is a tremendous leader. Just being around him you can sense it. He’s a great guy in the locker room as well as going out with him too. He’s a tremendous competitor. He brings it everyday, in practice, the weight room, in training. He’s a guy you just want to be around. People feed off him when they’re around him.”

This is what Christian Hackenberg looks like if you are fifth-year senior linebacker Mike Hull, his defensive counterpart as both a leader in word and deed.

“That’s the great thing about having a quarterback like Hack on your team. He’s hit all night, he’s pressured all night, and he stays composed. Whenever it comes down to it, you trust him to make a play -- and he always does. He’s definitely everyone’s pal, a down to earth guy. Nicest guy you’re going to find. He’s just fun to be around.”

This is what Christian Hackenberg looks like if you’re Christian Hackenberg:

“If you consider yourself someone with a competitive nature and a person who lives in those sorts of moments, you have to have that edge, you have to say, ‘Yeah, there is no next time. You have to get it down now.’ That’s how I’ve always been growing up. I grew up in a house with four boys and my dad, so we were competing in everything since I can remember.

“Those situations are ones that I love. It’s the ultimate situation for a competitor. We have a ton of those guys in the huddle and that helps. I’ve been in situations like in high school, even in Little League. Now it’s a different level and you have guys around and people you can lean on in terms of coaching, guys who are going to put you in the best situations to be successful and have been there, done that. That’s huge.

“Last year I was sort of the young buck and learning the ropes. I was going through that growing and learning process. And this year, I have a better grasp. I’ve always been that guy who’s fiery and super-competitive. I want everything to be perfect. That’s me.”

This is what Christian Hackenberg looks like if you looked at the scoreboard in High Point Solutions Stadium here at 11:33 p.m. Saturday night:

Penn State 13, Rutgers 10.



Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for StateCollege.com since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PSUPoorman. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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