Penn State Beats Appalachian State 45-38 In OT

Eleven years to the day after its historic upset over Michigan, Appalachian State nearly pulled off another stunner Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium, but No. 10 Penn State prevailed 45-38 in overtime.

Trace McSorley hit KJ Hamler for the game-tying touchdown with 42 seconds left before junior running back Miles Sanders provided the winning 4-yard score. Amani Oruwariye’s interception in the end zone sealed the deal.

How It Happened

McSorley tallied the first points of the season on a 12-yard touchdown run less than three minutes into the contest, but Appalachian State’s Darrynton Evans returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to tie things up.

The Mountaineers took their first lead of the game, 10-7, thanks to a 38-yard field goal from Chandler Staton with 4:10 left in the first quarter. True freshmen Micah Parsons and PJ Mustipher made their defensive debuts for the Nittany Lions in an otherwise uneventful second quarter.

McSorley became the first Penn State player to reach 80 career touchdowns.

Jake Pinegar, another member of Penn State’s touted 2018 recruiting class, connected on his first career field goal from 32 yards out to make it 10-10 just before the half. Rafael Checa, the kickoff specialist, dialed up a beautiful onside kick that Parsons recovered to give the Nittany Lions the ball back.

McSorley’s deep bomb intended for Hamler fell harmlessly to the ground in the end zone as time expired in the first half. McSorley found open space for a 10-yard score with 9:41 left in the third quarter, then Ricky Slade split the defense for his first touchdown in a Penn State uniform seven minutes later from 27 yards out.

Appalachian State receiver Malik Williams cut the deficit to 24-17 early in the fourth quarter, but Sanders, who had 19 carries for 91 yards, gave Penn State some breathing room again with a 2-yard touchdown run.

Jarvis Miller tackles Corey Sutton for a loss in the first half.

Zac Thomas found Williams for a second time to make it 31-24, then the Mountaineers recovered an onside kick of their own before driving 80 yards to tie the game on Thomas’ 1-yard rushing touchdown.

Appalachian State took the lead again with 1:47 to play thanks to its fourth touchdown of the fourth quarter, as Jalin Moore tip-toed down the right sideline from 16 yards away. Hamler’s 52-yard kickoff return set Penn State up in great field position, then he hauled in a 15-yard touchdown — his first in college — to tie the game with less than a minute to go. Sanders did the rest.

Oruwariye, who finished with seven solo tackles and a forced fumble, picked off the ball in the end zone to seal the win in the first overtime period. Walk-on Jan Johnson recorded a game-high 11 tackles after making his first career start at middle linebacker.

Player of the Game

KJ Hamler | Receiver

Hamler, a redshirt freshman from Pontiac, MI, had 120 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in his Penn State debut. His guts on that kickoff return saved the Nittany Lions from an embarrassing loss.

What’s Next?

Penn State (1-0) travels to Heinz Field for an 8 p.m. showdown with Pitt next Saturday in the penultimate game of the four-year series between the two programs.

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About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected].

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