For the second time this season, quarterback Christian Hackenberg was selected as National Freshman of the Week by Athlon Sports. This time, it comes after Hackenberg led the Nittany Lions to a 31-24 victory over the 14th ranked Wisconsin Badgers, in Madison. Head coach Bill O’Brien was also named as its Big Ten Coordinator of the Week.
Hackenberg threw for 339 yards and four touchdowns while completed 21 of 30 passes, and avoided getting sacked or throwing an interception. The freshman quarterback was one yard off his season high — on October 5, he threw for 340 yards in a loss at Indiana. The four touchdowns are the most he has thrown for all year.
Due in large part to his stellar performance, Penn State produced the three longest passing plays that Wisconsin’s defense has allowed all year. Hackenberg threw for completions of 68, 52, and 59 yards, two of which went for touchdowns.
Hackenberg threw for a touchdown in all four quarters on Saturday. He connected with fellow true freshman Adam Breneman less than two minutes into the game, and then capped off a first-half ending drive with a three yard pass to Geno Lewis with 1:16 remaining. A spectacular catch in the back corner of the end zone by tight end Jesse James from seven yards away put the Nittany Lions ahead 21-14 halfway through the third quarter, and a 59 yard bomb to Geno Lewis ultimately sealed Penn State’s upset in Madison.
If Allen Robinson elects to stay for his senior year, Brandon Felder and Alex Kenney will be the only receivers or tight ends that Penn State will lose after this season. If Hackenberg progresses over the summer as he is expected to, Penn State’s passing attack may be in store for some scary things next season.