No one gave them much of a chance. The experts in Las Vegas said the spread at 24 points, a number not matched since at least 1993, when PSU entered the Big 10. Instead of playing out the string, with no bowl game in site, Bill O’Brien, the senior class, and plenty of young talent, put together their best game of the season, and knocked off #14 Wisconsin, in Camp Randall, 31-24.
The Lions got off to a fast start against one of the top defenses in the country, with Christian Hackenberg finding Adam Breneman for a 68 yard catch and run touchdown. PSU appeared poised to make it a 2 score game after a 3 and out for the Wisconsin offense, but a false start penalty on 4th and short, and a blocked kick after, kept it 7-0. The false start call would be the 1st of 8 called on PSU today, including 4 on left tackle Donovan Smith. Wisconsin would score twice on Joel Stave passes, making it 14-7. Heading into the half, Hackenberg drove the Lines to the 2 yard line, and then found a wide open Geno Lewis who walked in for a tying touchdown.
PSU held the Badgers to a 3 and out to start the half, and then went right down the field to open up a 21-14 lead when Jesse James out jumped the Wisconsin defense in the back corner. Sam Ficken would convert from 28 yards out after a Brandon Bell strip sack, and C.J. Olaniyan return to the Badger 20. On the next drive, Hackenberg found Geno Lewis a second time, this time on a 59 yard bomb up the right sideline.
Wisconsin rallied for 10 points, and after a Sam Ficken miss from 31 yards out with 35 seconds left, drove the ball to the Penn State 41 with 9 seconds left. Stave’s hail mary was picked off by Ryan Keiser, ending the Badgers hopes for a 2nd straight OT game against PSU.
What a way to head to the offseason, and send out a fantastic senior class.
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