Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg has had a solid start to his collegiate career. However, whenever a true freshman is starting at quarterback, there are bound to be some hiccups along the way. Saturday night against the Ohio State Buckeyes was one of those games for Hackenberg.
The Nittany Lions headed to Columbus with hopes of an upset victory, but the complete opposite happened. They were blown out 63-14 by the Buckeyes. Hackenberg, who was coming off a clutch performance in a big win over the Michigan Wolverines, really looked out of sorts against Ohio State and struggled to get anything going.
Hackenberg, who had already lost a Big Ten road game at Indiana a few weeks ago, seemed to crack under the pressure of playing at Ohio Stadium for the first time in font of 105,000 scarlet-clad, screaming fans.
Things seemed to start positive for Penn State, as Hackenberg moved the Nittany Lions down the field on their first drive. However, it quickly turned negative, as he threw a momentum-stalling interception in the end zone.
The young signal-caller struggled the entire game, missing open receivers on several occasions and just making some flat-out bad throws.
Hackenberg appeared to be dealing with an injury when he was replaced by backup Tyler Ferguson in the third quarter. He was seen on the bench with what appeared to be ice wrapped around his shoulder.
For the game, Hackenberg completed just 12 of 23 passes and threw one touchdown and two interceptions. His 112 passing yards was his lowest total of the season.
There’s no doubt that Hackenberg has a bright future as the quarterback at Penn State, as he’s shown many flashes of greatness this season. Sure, his performance at Ohio State was by far his worst, but keep in mind that he’s only seven games into his career and should continue to grow and develop.
Saturday’s game at Ohio State is one that Hackenberg and everyone involved with Penn State will surely want to forget.