Penn State And UCF Live Blog:Penn State Wins on Last Second Ficken Field Goal, Final Score is 26-24
No more practices, no more film sessions. For both Penn State and UCF it's time to put all of that hard work in action as they open the 2014 season in Dublin, Ireland.
Penn State is led by head coach James Franklin in his first season with the Nittnay Lions. Penn State is looking to replace star wideout Allen Robinson and continue to improve along the offensive line which will be a key storyline throughout the season.
UCF is in its 11th year with head coach George O'Leary who has gone 72-56 during his tenure with the Knights. UCF looks to replace quarterback Blake Bortles after his departure to the NFL. The Knights will rely heavily on an experienced defense that returns nearly 88-percent of all players to start or play in a game last year for UCF.
Fourth Quarter: Penn State 20-10
UCF opens the quarter with a 2nd and 9. The Knights have back-to-back false start calls to make it third and goal from outside the 10 but a slant route and catch makes it 20-17 with 11:31 to play.
Penn State drives the ball into UCF territory but Hackenberg throws his second interception of the day forcing a throw into traffic. UCF will start with the ball at their own 40 with 10:00 to play.
A UCF fumble on the first play of the drive gives Penn State the ball right back.
Things are getting wild here as a few plays later the ball is fumbled by Penn State after a catch and UCF recovers at their own 29.
Penn State comes up big on defense and Jordan Lucas continues to make an impact with another pass deflection. The Nittany Lions will start at their own 35 with just over 8 minutes to play. Wild finish to this one that is far from over. Penn State score would probably be enough though.
UCF scores from six yards out with less than two minutes left to take a 24-23 lead.
Trailing UCF 24-23, Penn State goes 80 yards in a drive that began with just 1:13 left on the clock.
Sam Ficken nails a 36 yard field goal with time running out to ice a thrilling comeback 26-24. Penn State wins first game in Franklin era.
Third Quarter: Penn State 10-3
Running is the name of the game as Penn State pounds away with Zwinak in back to back plays for solid gains. A third and 2 at the 50 is converted thanks to a catch by Jesse James. Hackenberg takes a hit on the play but looks to be ok after he shakes it off. Penn State can't convert a third and seven and is forced to punt. The punt is almost downed inside the one but bounces into the end zone. UCF will start with the ball at the 20.
Penn State forces a quick 3-and-out after a sack and then a nice defected pass by Adrian Amos. Amos has had a solid game all day with pass rush and work in the secondary.
The Nittany Lions move the ball a short distance before two blitzes by UCF disrupt the offense and Penn State has to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Sam Ficken to extend the lead.
UCF finally gets the ball rolling on a few short passes and a missed sack and a bomb by quarterback Justin Holman gives the Knights the ball at the edge of the endzone. A few plays later it's a 13-10 game. UCF still only has 104 yards, most on that 50 yard strike but it remains a 3 point game.
Hackenberg throws a bomb of his own with a 79 yard strike on 3rd and 17 to Geno Lewis and it's 20-10.
UCF firing right back with a 46-yard catch and run. A personal foul puts UCF inside the 15 yard line as the third quarter ends.
Halftime: Penn State 10-3
Second Quarter: Penn State 7-0
Aside from the interception, Hackenberg with a strong 8-10, 103 yard first quarter effort. UCF will start at the 33 on a 2nd and 6.
UCF gets a first down but can't covert a third down attempt after a few good plays by Austin Johnson on the defensive front. UCF settles for a field goal to make it 7-3.
Penn State converts a third down on a Belton run to the left side. Hackenberg short armed a wide open Hamilton by 5-10 yards. According to Hack that route was wrong but bad pass either way.
Hackenberg continues to impress making several throws and even running for a medium gain. Penn State's offensive line has been fantastic in pass protection despite what was otherwise expect to be a problem area. A quick no-huddle has UCF on its heels and the Knights are forced to call a timeout. Penn State ball on the UCF 29 with 7:57 left in the half.
Penn State drives into the redzone but can't punch in the ball. Hackenberg tried to slip in a pass to Kyle Carter but it's incomplete. A wildcat run by Zwinak on third and goal comes up well short and Penn State is forced to settle for 3 points.
Brandon Bell with a nice TFL to open up the next UCF drive. Sets up a 2nd and 11 that ends up as a short gain after a Jordan Lucas tackle. Third down late in half a real chance for Penn State to get the ball back and extend lead before break. Adrian Amos pressure sets up a tackle and near sack. Fourth down punt is almost blocked. Unexplained personal foul along the defensive line gives UCF a free first down. Da'Quan Davis with a nice tackle in space to set up a punt.
Hackenberg continues to impress during the two minute drill with two nice throws to set up a third down deep in the UCF end. An offensive pass interference call brings it back to the 39 with 29 seconds to play. Hackenberg gets a throw to Geno Lewis but it is broken up in the end zone.
Sam Ficken comes on for Penn State to attempt a 56 yard field goal. Penn State calls timeout and opts to go for it and Hackenberg is sacked. The same can be said for the final play of the first half as a Penn State sack ends the opening stanza.
Penn State wins the toss and will kick to open the game. Great atmosphere here today.
15-yard penalty opens up the game after Von Walker celebrated a big hit on the return. Doesn't make a difference though as Amos blows up a run and Zettel does the same a play later. Incomplete pass and it's 3-and-out for UCF.
False start to open the drive by Penn State and a complete pass to Hamilton. Bill Belton stuffed on a sweep/draw to set up a third down. Hackenberg looks like he's going to be sacked but stiff arms and rolls out to throw for a first down and more.
Side to side action not working out for Penn State early and another Belton run sets up a punt. Roughing the kicker call will give Penn State the ball back though.
Hackenberg goes deep to Hamilton again setting up a first and goal at the 2. Hackenberg slipped on the play and still completed the pass downfield. Two plays later Zwinak punches it in but the play is under review and overturned after a close call. Zwinak scores on the next play to make it 7-0 Penn State. Hackenberg goes 4-5 for 76 yards on the drive.
UCF return starts the Knights well in Penn State territory. Trevor Williams with the touchdown saving tackle. UCF gets to the 3 but three straight stops by Penn State lead to a fourth down attempt by UCF that is incomplete after Penn State didn't bite on the play action.
Penn State called for holding after a nice run by Belton. Geno Lewis makes a nice grab on a swing route and a Belton run in the wildcat gives Penn State a first down on 3rd and 1.
Hackenberg continues to click with his receivers but a pass to Geno Lewis was sent through a window probably too small for a throw like that and it's intercepted giving UCF the gal at the Penn State 37.
James Franklin took the field just after 11 AM local time in a suit and tie with his team following only a few minutes later to take in the new surroundings. Punters and kickers from both teams warmed up and Christian Hackenberg threw a few passes with Bill Belton before both teams headed back into their dressing rooms.
The gates opened at noon local time and fans have begun to file in.
As an aside, the press box isn't actually a box but rather an open seating area in the stands. It's a neat way to take in the game with fans only a few sections and railings away.
It's very cloudy here today in Dublin but the rain is supposed to hold off for the entire day if the forecast is correct. Either way rain in Ireland never seems to last long or come down at a high rate so wind should be more of an issue that the wet.
Penn State takes the field just an hour or so before kick in road whites but in front of a home town cheer. UCF gets a solid ovation from the crowd as well a few minutes later.
#WeAre is trending on Twitter in the United States as both teams leave the field.
Two skydivers, a jet flyover and both Irish and American national anthems and we're ready for some football.
Follow along with StateCollege.com live in Croke Park as the game gets set to go in a few short hours.