Hackenberg Passes Mills As Penn State’s All-Time Leader In Passing Yards

Christian Hackenberg is Penn State’s new all-time leading passer. The junior quarterback surpassed former Nittany Lion standout Zack Mills on the career passing yard list Saturday afternoon against Maryland with a 40-yard completion to Chris Godwin that set up Penn State’s first touchdown of the day.

Mills, Penn State’s quarterback from 2001-2004, finished his career with 7,212 yards. Hackenberg entered M&T Bank Stadium Saturday with 7,138 yards under his belt, needing only 75 to become the Lions’ new all-time leader. Hackenberg has struggled at times this season, passing for at least 200 yards in only two games prior to Saturday’s tilt in Baltimore.

“That’s awesome,” Hackenberg said after the game. “For me, that’s something that’s not going to hit me until later on down the road. But it was really cool to be able to go out and get that done today, and have my teammates around and those guys making plays. I think it’s a product of a lot of things, a lot of great players coming through here helping me out. I don’t ever try to make it about me.”

Hackenberg also set the Penn State record for career completions in the game, and tied the record for passing attempts.

Two weeks ago, at home against Indiana, a pair of 39-yard touchdown passes from Hackenberg helped him eclipse the 7000-yard mark, the only other Penn Stater other than Mills to reach that milestone. But against Ohio State last weekend, he passed only 13 times, completing seven of those attempts for 120 yards.

Under Bill O’Brien, Hackenberg’s career began with an outstanding freshman year. His 2,955 passing yards and 20 touchdowns broke all sorts of school and freshman records. In 2014, Hackenberg’s offensive efficiency dipped — he passed for only 12 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his first year under James Franklin and John Donovan — though he increased his yardage to 2,977 yards. And entering Saturday, the junior quarterback passed for seven touchdowns, two interceptions, and 1,086 yards in 2015.

Matt McGloin (6,390 yards), Tony Sacca (5,869), and Daryll Clark (5,742) round out the top five leading passers in Penn State history. Eight Nittany Lion quarterbacks have passed for at least 5,000 passing yards.

Congrats, Christian.

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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