PREGAME: Injured Penn State starting linebacker Mike Hull (knee) is in street clothes. He will be replaced in the lineup by Stephen Obeng-Agyapong. Tight end Kyle Carter, who was listed as day to day with an unspecified injury, went through warmups and looked fine. Garry Gilliam was working with the first team at RT.
It didn't go exactly as planned early on for Penn State, but at the end of one, the Lions are tied with Eastern Michigan 7-7.
Quarterback Christian Hackenberg looked nervous early on, capped by a fumbled snap in the shotgun that Eastern Michigan's Hunter Matt scooped up and returned for an 11-yard score to give the Eagles an early lead. It didn't last long.
Penn State tied the game on its next drive, parlaying a Hackenberg 41-yard heave to Allen Robinson with a Zach Zwinak two-yard plunge to tie the game at seven.
Eastern Michigan took the early yards battle, racking up 72 first quarter yards compared to the Lions 64. Hackenberg if 3-for-7 for 57 yards, while Zwinak has churned out 12 yards on four carried.
Sam Ficken has a new school record, and at halftime of its home opener, Penn State leads Eastern Michigan 17-7.
The Lions placekicker blasted through a 39-yard field-goal with 17 seconds left to play in the half, marking his 14th straight make. It masked an otherwise up-and-down half for Penn State offensively, one that saw the Lions strike in the first 52 seconds when running back Bill Belton scampered in from five yards out, but also included a bad Christian Hackenberg interception at the Eastern Michigan 25.
In full, Hackenberg is 15-for-22 for 207 yards. Belton is the leader in the rushing clubhouse with 44 yards on five carries and a score, while Zwinak has rushed just four times for a total of 12 yards.
Safety Ryan Keiser went to the locker room early after suffering an injury during kick coverage and has not returned.
It took Penn State nearly 13 minutes to score in the third quarter, but more importantly, the Lions kept Eastern Michigan off the scoreboard again. State leads 24-7 at the end of three.
The offense continued to struggle at times, but didn't on it's final drive of the half. Hackenberg completed a fourth-down pass to receiver Brandon Moseby-Felder to put the Lions in goal-to-go territory, and Zwinak wasted no time taking advantage of. Just a play later, he went in untouched from seven yards out.
Hackenberg is now 20-for-30 for 237 yards, and the Lions lead in the yardage category by a 322-146 mark. The State defense, which is paced by nine tackles a piece from Jones and linebacker Glenn Carson, have allowed just 34 rushing yards.
Christian Hackenberg set a single-game record for a true freshman with 311 yards passing. Bill Belton set a career best mark with 108 yards rushing. Ten different Penn State players had receptions, and Penn State exploded for 21 points in the fourth quarter to blast Eastern Michigan 45-7.
A worn down Eastern Michigan defense could not contain State in the fourth, as Akeel Lynch also hit the 108-yard mark capped off by an 18-yard touchdown sprint late in the quarter. Hackenberg, meanwhile, threw for his first Beaver Stadium touchdown with a 45-yard bomb to a wide-open Robinson.
Belton and Lynch gave Penn State two rushers over the century mark for the first time since 2010, when Evan Royster and Silas Redd combined for over 200 yards together against Northwestern.