Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Christian Hackenberg, Penn State ruin Wisconsin's BCS hopesSubmitted: 11/30/2013
Christian Hackenberg, Penn State ruin Wisconsin's BCS hopes
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - A bright future for Penn State emerged on a cool, crisp day in the Midwest.

Strong-armed freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg figures to only improve for the Nittany Lions.

Hackenberg played with the poise and touch of a seasoned veteran, throwing for 339 yards and four touchdowns, and Penn State pounced on a slew of Badgers blunders before holding off a late rally to upset No. 15 Wisconsin 31-24 on Saturday.

"He really stepped up in a big way, and words can't describe how thankful I am to that guy," said offensive lineman and senior leader John Urschel.

An up-and-down season -- from the 20-point loss at Indiana to the overtime win over Michigan -- ended on a high note in the most unlikely of places, at Camp Randall Stadium on Senior Day against a Wisconsin team on the cusp of eligibility for an at-large berth in a Bowl Championship Series game.

Say goodbye to the BCS, Badgers.

"That's not going to happen and so we'll move forward. Such is life," coach Gary Andersen said. "The way we played today and the way I coached them, obviously, we don't deserve to have that opportunity. It's gone now."

Two more freshmen had big days for Penn State (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten). Eugene Lewis finished with 91 yards and two touchdowns on three catches, including a 59-yarder with 13 minutes to go to give the Nittany Lions a 31-14 lead. Adam Breneman had 78 yards on three receptions, including a 68-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown that set the tone for the day on the game's opening drive.

The Nittany Lions secured a statement win against a team that had been dominant all year at home. They were listed as 24-point underdogs among Las odds-makers, and prognosticators consistently predicted a Badgers blowout.

Coach Bill O'Brien made sure his players knew about their underdog status all week. A sizable chip was planted on the Nittany Lions' collective shoulders.

"I'm not allowed to talk about that even though it seems like a lot of you guys thought it was the right line," O'Brien told reporters after the game. "You're wrong."

Joel Stave was 29 of 53 for 339 yards and three touchdowns for Wisconsin (9-3, 6-2), though Penn State capitalized on three second-half interceptions, turning one into Lewis' long TD.

The Badgers scored 10 points in a span of 1:25 of the fourth quarter, capped by a 48-yard field goal by Jack Russell with 4:13 left to get within a score. Sam Ficken's 31-yard field-goal try went wide right with 31 seconds left to give the Badgers one more chance.

But a Hail Mary attempt by Stave was intercepted by Ryan Keiser in the end zone with 1 second left.

"Both elation and relief," linebacker Mike Hull said in describing the moment. "We made it closer than we had to, but we got the win and that's all that matters."

Penn State clinched a winning season and did it on the road, where they had struggled all year in Big Ten play. That's quite an accomplishment for a program that's typically dressed about 60 recruited scholarship players as a result of NCAA sanctions resulting from the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

O'Brien's team can't go to a bowl game because of the sanctions. But Penn State will nevertheless ride into the offseason on a high note for a second straight year after a win over the Badgers. Penn State beat Wisconsin 24-21 in an overtime thriller to end the 2012 season.

The Badgers only have themselves to blame. They were uncharacteristically prone to mental errors and mistakes.

"I can't sit back and say we had a bad week of practice, can't sit back and say I didn't feel like we were prepared," Andersen said. "I'm going to say it again, I give a lot of credit to Penn State."

A high pass from Stave off the fingertips of Jared Abbrederis was picked off by Trevor Williams, who returned it 33 yards to the Penn State 38. Three plays later, Hackenberg let go a deep pass after absorbing a hit from Brendan Kelly that landed in the arms of a streaking Lewis over double coverage for a touchdown and 31-14 lead in the fourth.

A Wisconsin defense that hadn't allowed a play longer than 51 yards entering Saturday allowed an astounding four for at least 52 against Penn State.

Hackenberg was 13 of 16 for 221 yards and two touchdowns alone in the first half, the second coming to a wide-open Lewis from 3 yards.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON - A judge has sentenced a former University of Wisconsin-Madison student who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting three female students and choking or stalking two others to three years behind bars.

WKOW-TV reports Dane County Circuit Judge Stephen Ehlke sentenced 22-year-old Alec Cook of Edina, Minnesota, on Thursday to three years in prison and five years of extended supervision.

+ Read More

HOUGHTON - River Valley Bank will accept donations for flood victims in Houghton and the surrounding area. 

Anyone can make a donation online or in person at a River Valley Bank. 

+ Read More

Play Video

ANTIGO - Ten years ago, an Antigo woman started working as a cook and fill-in waitress at a Country Kitchen, but she didn't want to stop there. 

"I took on management and then a year ago, I decided, well, might as well just buy the place and there [are] always jumps and leaps, but everything has worked out perfectly. I wouldn't change anything," said Lisa Summ. 

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Ascension St. Mary's Hospital celebrated an incredible milestone June 21.

125 years ago the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother began their work in Rhinelander.

+ Read More

Play Video

PELICAN - A group of neighbors in the Town of Pelican found a cluster of caterpillars near their homes on Lake Julia Road.

Last year, the plants hosting the more than 20 monarch caterpillars were mowed over.

This year, the group has a plan to protect the at-risk insects from meeting the same fate.

More than 20 monarch caterpillars have moved into some foliage on Lake Julia Road in Pelican.

"I just thought, 'Oh wonderful, I'll have to protect these,'" said butterfly enthusiast Mary Dork.

Last year, Dork was pleased to find a field of milkweed near her house covered in monarch caterpillars.

"You can always tell where the caterpillars are because of the leaves being eaten," said Dork.

The DNR says monarchs have been at risk of being endangered since 2014.

+ Read More

Play Video

PRENTICE - Right now, anyone can walk into the Prentice School District building at just about any time.

There's no buzzer system and the front door mostly stays unlocked.

The district is concerned about security, but says a solution is expensive.

That will all change starting this summer.

Prentice was one of the first districts in Wisconsin to get a state grant for school security. It will install a secure entrance, cameras throughout the school, and a new communication system.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - More than 10,000 cars pass through one of the area's busiest intersections each day: Highways 8 and 47 on Rhinelander's west side.  But next year, all those cars might need to go around the intersection as construction for a roundabout gets started.

The Department of Transportation is considering two options for traffic flow as crews build an approximately $2 million roundabout.

Option 1: the intersection largely stays open as a "T", but Kemp Street gets closed completely.

Option 2: widened off-ramps detour traffic around the intersection to Boyce Drive or Kemp Street.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here