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Penn State improves to 3-1 with a close contest with Aztecs

By Kenny Varner

 

UNIVERSITY PARK – Saturday afternoon, the Penn State football team went head-to-head with the West Coast’s San Diego State for the first time.

Sporting a 2-1 record coming into the contest, the Lions seemed to have its running back question marks.

On the first possession at Aztecs 20 the Lions defense came out pumped up and forced a punt.

Penn State had a little better luck in its first possession, which started at the PSU 35.

Lynch opened with a tough run in two of out of the first two plays. But the drive fizzled at midfield giving the ball back to the Aztecs.

Defensively, Penn State looked strong, breaking through the offensive line and putting pressure on the quarterback.

Hackenberg seemed more comfortable in his backfield as he completed some clutch throws early on.

Standing at midfield Hackenberg found Saeed Blacknall for a jaw-dropping 47-yard catch, putting the Lions down in side the Aztecs 10.

After a Penn State penalty, the Lions found themselves going the wrong way.

But fortunes changed quickly when a 22-yard hook up between Hackenburg and Saquon Barkley put Penn State up 7-0 with 4:20 left in the opening quarter.

However, Rashaad Penny ran the following kick off 100 yards for the touchdown, tying it at seven with 4:08 left in the first.

Barkley helped get the Penn State continue its strong push on the offensive side with a 34-yard run.

On the following play Chris Godwin caught a 15-yard strike from Hackenberg to put the ball on the 23.Though the drive fizzled Joey Julius came in to go for the 40-yard field goal. He was automatic, giving the Lions a 10-7 advantage with :43 ticks left in the first quarter.

In the first quarter, Hackenberg was an impressive 6-for-7 for 104 yards in the air. Running mate Barkley rushed for 43 yards.

Early in the second, Hackenberg hit Blacknall once again, hitting him on a 37-yard completion, putting the Linos down once again in the red zone.

Barkley got them even closer scampering around the left end, putting the Lions on the 10 after a 21-yard gain.

Like late in the first, the Nittany lions had to settle for a field goal by Julius, upping the lead to 13-7 with 11:59 left in the half.

No lead is safe when a team has speed on its side.One run by the Aztecs put the 55-yard run by Rashad Penny put San Diego State at the Lions 25.

Michah Holder’s 19-yard reception put the visitors up for the first time of the game, leading 14-13.

Julius was asked to hit a 5-yard field goal attempt but the kick was blocked, ending a scoring opportunity and sent Penn State back on defense.

When things were looking bleak for PSU Godwin recovered a fumble by an Aztec player, putting the Lions on San Diego’s 28-yard line.

Hackenberg found DaeSean Hamilton , putting the Lions closer to scoring at the 13.

Mark Allen put the Lions the back ahead with a 13-yard completion, making it 20-14 with 1:03 left in the half.

The Lions forced yet another fumble on the following Aztec possession, putting the ball back in the hands of the PSU offense.

Statrting at the 23, The lions had just less than a minute to put some points on board.

With 17 seconds left in the half. The Lions got an 11-yard TD reception from Hackenberg to Godwin, upping the deficit to 27-14 at the half.

Disaster struck the Lions early in the third when they fumbled the ball on a punt return, putting the ball at the PSU 20.

With 8:11 left in the third San Diego State cut the Penn State lead to 27-21 on a 1-yard run by Donnel Pumphrey.

When the third quarter came to an end, Penn State was still clinging to a 27-21 advantage.

Austin Johnson turned an Aztec drive into some Penn State picked up a fumble quarterback Maxwell Smith and rumbled his way down for a touchdown of 71 yards, putting Penn State back up by 13 at 34-21.

After An Aztec punt, the Lions ‘offense drove down field as Hackenberg closed in on the 300-yard passing mark.

Despite getting the ball down to the nine, the Lions had to settle for a 26-yard field goal attempt. Julius again was straight through, upping the score to 37-21 with 9:52 left.

But that would all the Lions would need as they were able to hold the Aztecs the rest of the way, winning 37-21.

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