OK, I admit it, I’m surprised. At halftime in Madison, Penn State finds itself tied with the 14th ranked Badgers at 14.
While most of us were still watching the end of the Michigan-Ohio State game (great call to go for 2, Brady..seriously, I loved it), Christian Hackenberg rolled out and found fellow freshman Adam Breneman for a 68 yard catch and run to put PSU up 7-0 early. PSU forced a quick 3 and out from the Badgers high powered offense, and appeared to be driving for a 2nd touchdown early. However, after being stopped just short of a 1st down inside the Badger 15, PSU was called for a false start on the 4th down. O’Brien pulled the offense off the field, opting for a Ficken field goal try. That kick was blocked, giving Wisconsin back some momentum.
The Badgers would finally begin clicking on offense, especially through the air, with Joel Stave throwing for two touchdowns, and several key conversions in the 2nd quarter. PSU lost junior cornerback Adrian Amos with what appears to be the sprained foot O’Brien indicated was limiting Amos earlier in the week. Trevor Williams and Da’Quan Davis were pressed into duty, and Stave was able to take advantage.
Hackenberg would cap his best half of the season late in the first half with an efficient drive where he connected with both Geno Lewis and Allen Robinson on long passes. The scoring play took advantage of a confused Wisconsin D, with Lewis completely uncovered on the outside, and Hackenberg quickly snapping the ball and finding his freshman receiver. Despite ESPN’s best efforts to make a controversy out of the play, Badger coach Greg Andersen was unable to get a timeout recognized by the officials before the snap.
Hackenberg sits 13/16 for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns, by far his best 30 minutes of the season. Wisconsin gets the ball to start the half.
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