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Penn State-Eastern Michigan Live Blog: Nittany Lions win 45-7

by on September 07, 2013 10:22 AM

Fourth Quarter:

EMU struggles to move the ball and a perfect pass from Christian Hackenberg to a wide open Allen Robinson for a 45-yard touchdown grab. The pass gives Hackenberg 292 yards on the day, a new single-game freshman record for Penn State. The announced attendance for today's game is announced at 92,363.

Penn State gets the ball back and it's all Bill Belton with a 51-yard touchdown run to make it 38-7. Hackenberg had a nice toss to James a play earlier.

Hackenberg's day is done and Tyler Ferguson will take over for Penn State under center. The Nittany Lions will likely run the ball for the remaining seven minutes of the game. Akeel Lynch continues to have a strong day and punches it in for a 45-7 lead. The game marks the first since 2010 that Penn State has had dual 100 yard rushers.

Third Quarter:

Penn State goes three and out to start the half and the same goes for EMU and the Nittany Lions will get the ball back at the 35.

Both teams trade short drives. Penn State will get the ball back at mid field with 7:30 to go in the third quarter. Penalties and miscues have plagued both teams in the early stages of the second half. Hackenberg has also been sacked once and pressured for almost a sack.

DaQuan Jones gets a sack on second down well inside the EMU redzone and it helps set up a punt that gives Penn State the ball just outside the 30 yardline inside EMU territory.

The offensive line gives up two straight sacks and a long third down is almost converted by Zwinak. Hackenberg audibles out of a fourth down call and throws to Felder for the first down. Zwinak runs it in from seven yards out the very next play to give Penn State a 24-7 lead. Offensive line coach Mac McWhorter wasn't pleased with the offensive line during that last series, animated and yelling on the sideline.

Halftime:

After starting out slow the Nittany Lions have taken control of the game but not without a handful of mistakes. Overall though Hackenberg and the defense have both improved after shaky starts. The true freshman is now the 21st quarterback to break the 200 yard mark multiple times in a season.

Stats:

Christian Hackenberg: 15/22 for 207 yards, 1 INT.

Allen Robinson: 4 catches, 70 yards.

Brandon Felder: 4 catches, 48 yards. 

Bill Belton: 5 carries, 44 yards, 1 TD.

Glenn Carson: 6 tackles

Nyeem Wartman, DaQuan Jones: 5 tackles

Second Quarter:

Belton with a four yard run. Penn State is getting a little more push on the offensive line. Hackenberg connects with Zanellato out of the timeout and to Jesse James two plays later. Penn State has started to figure things out and a five yard run by Belton gives the Nittany Lions a 14-7 lead after a 6 play, 68 yard drive in 1:02.

Eastern Michigan has had success throwing medium routes but can't string enough of them together. Good pressure by Barnes almost forces an interception by Wartman. EMU attempts a 42-yard kick but it sails wide right.

Akeel Lynch sees some of his first action of the season with two carries early in Penn State's drive. Brandon Felder makes a nice catch but fumbles the ball which is recovered by Allen Robinson. The play was ruled not a fumble.

Penn State goes for it on fourth and inches and a Hackenberg QB dive gains the yardage with ease. A few plays later though Hackenberg is intercepted after waiting long to make the throw into an area of slight double coverage. The pass was batted down by one defender and caught off of the additional defender's leg. A pass Hackenberg shouldn't make but a bit of bad luck on the deflection as well.

EMU can't move the ball and Penn State gets it back and marches down the field before two straight holding calls back the Nittany Lions up. Hackenberg continues to look sharp and has closed in on 200 yards in the half with 193 so far. Sam Ficken's make sets a school record for consecutively made field goals at 14.

First Quarter:

Malcolm Willis, Ty Howle and Pat Zerbe are Penn State's game captains for today. Penn State will kick off to start the game after winning the toss.

Stephen Obeng-Agyapong in the starting linebacker rotation in place of Mike Hull.

Eastern Michigan gains a first down after another short and quick pass. Much like Syracuse early in the game last week, EMU seems happy to throw the ball quickly rather than risk the pass rush. Penn State forces a fourth down after a short drive but a missed tackle makes the third down play closer than it should have been. Von Walker makes a fair catch at the 12 yard line.

Penn State attacks on the ground off the bat but a holding penalty brings the play back. Two straight games Penn State has opened with a penalty. Hackenberg just long on a pass out of his own endzone, a nice throw despite the result.

Following a punt, Hackenberg takes to the sideline and talks to O'Brien who goes over a few things with the freshman before giving him a few pats on the back. O'Brien then walked over to the offensive unit on the bench and spoke with all of them. Calming the troops a bit. EMU botches the snap on a 45-yard field goal attempt and Jordan Lucas tackles the holder in the backfield.

Allen Robinson catches the first complete pass of the game but Hackenberg blasts one past Robinson on third and five. Belton didn't gain a yard on the only run of the three play drive.

EMU is doing a good job still double teaming rushers and preventing a pass rush by unloading passes quickly into gaps in the zone.

On the first play from scrimmage following a short EMU drive Hackenberg fumbles the ball similarly to Ferguson last week and the ball is returned for a touchdown. Players giving Hackenberg pats and well wishes on the sideline after the blunder.

Penn State starts the next drive going NASCAR and Allen Robinson catches two straight from Hackenberg including a 43-yard strike that gets the Nittany Lions in the redzone. A pass interference flag gives Penn State a first down inside five. Zwinak punches it in on the very next play. The high tempo offense clearly gave EMU issues. 

During a review of Robinson's catch, Beaver Stadium showed a slow motion replay, now allowed by the Big Ten.

Penn State's defense seems to have found itself after struggling in the early stages of the game. The Nittany Lions force a three-and-out and Deion Barnes and Nyeem Wartman were both factors. Wartman with an almost interception.

Pregame:

Penn State football returns to the friendly confines of Beaver Stadium today to take on Eastern Michigan. The Eagles are led by Ron English in his fourth year at the helm of the MAC conference team. English is 11-38 over that span picking up a victory last week in a 34-24 contest on the road against Howard.

For Penn State this will be the second start for true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg who was impressive in a season opening 23-17 victory over Syracuse at MetLife Stadium.

The Nittany Lions will need a strong showing this week to prepare for a talented UCF team heading to town next week for a 6. pm. kick.

Much like last season, it looks like all varsity sports teams will help form a pregame tunnel for the football team to run though. This is the second year of the home opener tradition brought about with the One Team slogan in an attempt to unite the athletic department and university. Athletes from all across campus are standing on the sideline watching both teams warm up.

Injury update:

Kyle Carter who is listed day-to-day has a large brace down his entire left arm but is participating in warm-ups. Matt Lehman who will miss the remainder of the season is in shorts on the sideline with a white sleeve down his entire left leg. Lehman is walking gingerly but otherwise looks to be in as good of spirits as you might expect. 

Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, Glenn Carson and Nyeem Wartman are all warming up in the same linebacking core. Mike Hull was listed as probable earlier this week but could be held out as a precaution. Hull was on the field earlier today but was not on the field for full warm-ups.

Check back here throughout pregame and all game for thoughts, stats and observations inside Beaver Stadium.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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