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(Saturday, August 31)
Final Score: Penn State 23, Syracuse 17
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Christian Hackenberg threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns as the Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the Syracuse Orange, 23-17, at MetLife Stadium in the New York College Classic.
Hackenberg, the second freshman quarterback to start a season opener for the Nittany Lions (1-0) since 1910, completed 22-of-31 passes, although he also threw a pair of interceptions. Allen Robinson caught seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. Zach Zwinak carried the ball 24 times but for just 61 yards.
Drew Allen went 16-of-37 for 189 yards, completing passes to nine different receivers for Syracuse (0-1) in Scott Shafer's head-coaching debut. Jerome Smith rushed for 73 yards and accounted for both of the team's touchdowns.
After a scoreless first quarter, Ross Krautman connected on a 32-yard field goal at the 12:32 mark of the second quarter to give Syracuse a 3-0 lead.
Penn State responded with a pair of field goals off the foot of Sam Ficken (36, 35) before the half was out to take a 6-3 advantage heading into intermission.
The Nittany Lions extended their lead early in the third quarter after Hackenberg hooked up with Robinson for a 51-yard touchdown.
Less than a minute later, Smith rushed in a 10-yard touchdown to cut the Syracuse deficit to three, 13-10.
Ficken converted another field goal, this time from 46 yards out, to put the Nittany Lions up 16-10 at the start of the fourth quarter. They gained even more breathing room a few minutes later when Hackenberg completed a 54-yard scoring strike to Eugene Lewis.
The Orange made things interesting with just under seven minutes left in the game when Smith ran in a one-yard touchdown to bring them to within one score, but they would get no closer.
Penn State won despite going just 1-of-16 on third-down conversions.
08/31 21:11:21 ET