Saturday, December 27, 2014

By a foot: Penn State overcomes BC to win Pinstripe Bowl

Thanks to Penn State

Bronx, NY --  Mystique and Aura might have made an appearance in the new Yankee Stadium on Saturday night.

Christian Hackenberg threw for 371 yards and four touchdowns, including a game-winning 10-yard TD pass to Kyle Carter in overtime as Penn State edged Boston College 31-30 in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Tyler Murphy hit David Dudeck for a 21-yard score to conclude Boston College's overtime march, but Mike Knoll missed the ensuing extra point, the Eagles' nation-leading eighth PAT miss of the season.

Hackenberg connected with Jesse James for a 17-yard completion on a 3rd-and-15 and then lofted his 10-yard score for Carter in the front left corner of the end zone.

Sam Ficken, who nailed a game-tying 45-yard field goal with 20 seconds in regulation, split the uprights on the extra point to give Penn State (7-6) the dramatic victory in its first bowl game appearance since the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.

The Nittany Lions appeared in their first bowl game since a loss to Houston in the TicketCity Bowl in January of 2012.

Penn State was originally banned from participating in a bowl until 2016 after the NCAA levied sanctions against the school in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child  sex  abuse scandal.  The NCAA,  though, lifted  the severe sanctions in early  September due  to Penn State's good behavior. The institution will also
have all of their scholarships returned next year.

The Nittany Lions trailed by as many as 14 in the second half.

Hackenberg completed 34-of-50 passes, Chris Godwin caught seven passes for 140 yards  and a touchdown and Geno Lewis hauled in seven balls for 82 yards and a score  for Penn  State, which hasn't won  a bowl game since beating LSU in the 2010  Capital One Bowl.  That victory was later vacated by the NCAA as part of the Sandusky sanctions.

Boston  College got  its vaunted ground game going against Penn State's stingy front seven.

Jon  Hilliman totaled 148 of BC's 285 rushing yards against the Nittany Lions, who had allowed just 84.5 rushing yards per game coming in.

Murphy  was  11-of-19 for 97  yards and  two scores and  added 105 yards and a touchdown  on the  ground for  the Eagles  (7-6), who  dropped three  of their last four games to close the season.

The Eagles scored on their first two possessions of the second half to open up a 21-7 advantage late in the third.

Hackenberg  floated a pass to Lewis' back shoulder along the left sideline and Lewis  adjusted  to haul in  the throw for a  32-yard completion and a 15-yard facemask  penalty following the  play moved the ball to the BC 15. The Eagles' Justin  Simmons  tipped Hackenberg's 3rd-and-2  quick slant toss to Lewis, but
Lewis  was able  to corral  the deflected  ball to  claw PSU  within 21-14  on the final play of the third.

Following  a pair of  punts, the Nittany Lions found the end zone again midway through the fourth to tie the game.

Akeel  Lynch powered  through  several  BC would-be  tacklers  along the  left sideline  for a  35-yard  gain down  to the  1.  Brian Gaia's  unsportsmanlike penalty  on first down  moved the ball back to the 16, but Hackenberg threaded the  needle to DaeSean  Hamilton along the right seam to knot the contest with
6:48 remaining in regulation.

Marcus Allen made a touchdown-saving tackle on Murphy inside the 5 following a 3rd-and-8 quarterback keeper along the right boundary. The Eagles then settled for  a  20-yard Knoll field  goal to put  them back in  front with 2:10 on the

Hackenberg's  25-yard completion  to Godwin led to Ficken's game-tying boot on PSU's ensuing series.

Earlier,  Hackenberg lofted  a 72-yard  TD strike  to Godwin  along the  right sideline to open the scoring at the 5:22 mark of the first, but BC answered 43 seconds later on Hilliman's 49-yard dash to the end zone.

Murphy  fired a 19-yard TD pass to Shakim Phillips to cap the Eagles' 11-play, 6:45  trek  to open the  third. Murphy  then broke off  a 40-yard TD run later in the period for BC's 21-7 cushion.

Notes: No  active PSU player had ever won a bowl game ... Penn State outgained Boston College,  453-386 ...  The Nittany Lions were 9-of-17 on third down, while the Eagles  finished 5-of-16  ... BC averaged 6.3 yards per carry ... PSU improved to  20-4 all-time  against  BC, although  the Eagles  won  the previous  three meetings coming.

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