Although the outcome against Central Florida wasn’t what head coach Bill O’Brien and the Penn State Nittany Lions wanted last week, the offense continued to look solid. Penn State put up 31 points in the losing effort and is now averaging 33 points in three games. Although they were behind for much of the game, the Nittany Lions were able to keep the score close with an effective offense.
Penn State put up 455 yards of total offense against Central Florida, including 262 through the air from true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who had another good performance. Hackenberg completed 21 out of 28 passes with one touchdown and no interceptions. For the season, the young signal-caller has thrown for 851 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions through three games.
Hackenberg’s performance earned him Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for the second time in three weeks.
Catching most of Hackenberg’s passes Saturday was star receiver Allen Robinson, who finished with nine catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. Those two have quickly developed a great chemistry that has put Robinson atop the Big Ten receiving categories for the second-straight season. His 405 receiving yards is fourth-best in the nation.
Along with the success of the passing game, the Penn State ground game has also been productive.
In the Central Florida game, Penn State ran for 193 yards. Zach Zwinak led the way, rushing for 128 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch, who make up the three-man backfield, also looked good in Week 3. Belton carried five times for 36 yards and Lynch carried the ball five times for 32 yards.
The loss to Central Florida hurts, but Penn State fans can take solace in the fact that the offense has looked very strong in the early part of this season and seems to have no problem putting up points.
With talent and experience all over the field on the offensive side and a young quarterback who’s already shown that he belongs, the Nittany Lions should be able to bounce back quickly and get back in the win column.
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