Penn State: Helmet stickers
September, 1, 2013
By Josh Moyer | ESPN.com
Recognizing the best and brightest from the Nittany Lions in the season opener:
- Safety/linebacker Stephen Obeng-Agyapong: Syracuse targeted Obeng-Agyapong after Mike Hull went down, but the safety-turned-linebacker stepped up in a big way. He ran the gamut of defensive statistics with a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception. The situational player's two turnovers directly led to six Penn State points.
- Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones: Who paced the Nittany Lions' defense in tackles? That would be none other than the 6-foot-3, 318-pound senior. He cut through double-teams and the Syracuse line like the great PSU tackles before him and wound up with 8.5 tackles -- including a sack and 3.5 tackles in the backfield. Jones was absolutely unstoppable, and the Orange didn't get very far trying to rush inside.
- Quarterback Christian Hackenberg: He made a few mistakes, as Bill O'Brien mostly stuck to a conservative game plan. But he played relatively well -- extremely well for a true freshman who's been on campus less than three months. He went 22-of-31 for 278 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His 54-yard touchdown strike to Eugene Lewis was the nicest pass of the game and really showed off his arm. If that play didn't offer a glimpse of his potential, none did. He should be something special -- and a win in his first career start is definitely a great beginning.
- Kicker Sam Ficken: He needs to put Robbie Gould on his Christmas card list. He talked with the former Penn State kicker throughout last season and really came on strong Saturday by nailing all three of his field goals, including a career-long 46-yard attempt. This isn't the same Ficken as last season, who some thought might just be the worst FBS kicker in the country. Early last season, they might have been right. But this year? Excuse the pun, but he's started off on the right foot.
- Wideout Allen Robinson: Sometimes, stats just speak best. He had seven catches for 133 yards -- accounting for 48 percent of Hackenberg's passing yardage -- and only played in the second half. He basically single-handedly drove PSU to its first score by catching two balls for 76 yards and a TD ... on a two-play drive. Plus, nearly all of his yardage came after the catch. Robinson is the best receiver in the Big Ten, and he could be in the NFL at this point next season.
Challenges Facing Franklin at Penn State
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35