The Penn State Nittany Lions got back into the win column this week against the Kent State Golden Flashes. In a game that included tough weather conditions, the Nittany Lions were able to control the game, especially on defense, en route to a 34-0 victory. After a poor performance last week, defensive coordinator John Butler’s unit stepped up in a big way and pitched its second shut-out of the season.
Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg struggled a bit in this one and didn’t have the best performance. He had several throws that were either high or too hard for his receivers. He also had a stretch in the third quarter where he threw six-straight incompletions, including an interception. For the game, Hackenberg finished 13-35 for 176 yards passing with one touchdown and an interception.
On a day where it was tough to pass due to the slick conditions, the running game played a huge role in the victory. The Nittany Lions ran for a total of 287 yards. The Penn State running game was excellent behind the three-man rushing attack of Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch.
Zwinak ran 15 times for 65 yards and scored three touchdowns for the second-straight week. Belton carried the rock 13 times and put the Nittany Lions on the board in the first quarter with a 15-yard touchdown reception. Akeel Lynch didn’t play until the second half, but he ended up leading the team with 123 yards on 14 carries.
Entering the game, there was a question as to how the Penn State defense would respond after getting taken to school last week by Central Florida. That question was answered in a big way, as the defense shut a team out for the second time in three games. The Nittany Lions were fired up all game on defense and did an excellent job of getting off the field on third down, something that was a problem last week.
Kent State was three of 15 on third down conversions.
Penn State held the Golden Flashes to 190 yards of total offense. Linebacker Glenn Carson led the way with seven tackles, including two for a loss. After not recording a sack against UCF, the Nittany Lions registered three in this one.
This impressive victory wraps up the non-conference portion of the schedule. The Nittany Lions get a bye next week before opening Big Ten play on October 5th at Indiana.
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