Penn State Football: Friday Review- Penn State vs UCF

2 of 6

First Quarter :

A common occurrence early in the game for Penn State was their ability to shutdown Central Florida’s talented group of wide receivers. Now, yes they were also facing an overwhelmed redshirt freshman quarterback in Pete DiNovo, however the Nittany Lions were able to apply pressure on DiNOvo while Jordan Lucas played terrific man coverage on Breshad Perriman of UCF.

For those who weren’t able to watch him in his freshman season, many did not understand through Penn State’s season last year why Christian Hackenberg was such a high profiled and touted quarterback despite his underwhelming numbers. One major reason is his mental awareness and pocket presence.

In the play below, you see a UCF Knights defensive lineman breakthrough the Nittany Lions horrendous offensive line only for Hackenberg to escape the pressure and evade the tackle. The evade and escape allowed enough time for Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton to get open which allowed Hackenberg to hit Hamilton perfectly in the chest while on the run.

On the play below, we see a glimpse of the  arm strength and accuracy of Christian Hackenberg as he hits DaeSean Hamilton perfectly in stride on a 44-yard post route. The Nittany Lions would score two players later on a Zach Zwinak one-yard run. After his impressive freshman season it looked as though Hackenberg was picking up right where he left off against Wisconsin the year before. Another little note that should be passed on about this play is Hackenberg’s quick ability to recover from slipping on the wet turf (a common occurrence throughout the game). 

More from Penn State Football

With  Pete DiNovo starting the game, the Knights offense would move slowly and struggle mightily throughout the first half. However while DiNovo’s play was undoubtedly horrendous, the Nittany Lions defense was able to maintain pressure on the young quarterback throughout the half as seen three plays above as well as in the play below.

In our first major mistake we see Christian Hackenberg throw a very bad interception. This play was an early reminder of a few things. One, he’s still a very young quarterback (19-years old). Two, he’s still going to make some bad mistakes at times throughout the season.

On this particular play we see Hackenberg go through his progressions before seeing Geno Lewis. Believing he could get the ball into the tight window that was presented, Hackenberg let the ball loose however he would be picked off by UCF’s Jacoby Glenn. Hackenberg would make similar mistakes throughout the season.

After the first quarter of play the Nittany Lions would lead the Knights 7-0.