Over on Crystal Ball Run we are simulating the entire 2013 season. This will be a week-long simulation and we'll be highlighting Penn State's results of the official CBR simulation along the way. While the Crystal Ball Run is operating four weeks at a time, we'll stick to three games per day.
PENN STATE 20, SYRACUSE 17
Passing: Hackenberg, 20-of-45, 166 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 56 rushing yards
Rushing: Zwinak, 11 carries for 74 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Carter, 6 rec., 63 yards, 1 TD
Tackles: Kline, 7 tack
Freshman Christian Hackenberg wins the quarterback battle in training camp and is awarded the starting job in week one against Syracuse. Though he struggles at times, he proves to show he can be a winner in a season-opening victory.
Penn State jumps out early against the Orange in MetLife Stadium with Sam Ficken connecting on a 30-yard field goal and Zach Zwinak breaking in for his first touchdown of the year on a six-yard run. Syracuse battles back in the second quarter but Penn State takes a 13-10 lead in to the half. Syracuse wins the third quarter with a touchdown run by Loeb but freshman Christian Hackenberg shows poise in leading Penn State to the come-from-behind victory with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Carter with 1:15 to play in the game.
Penn State turns the football over once but comes up with two Syracuse turnovers as well. The defense holds the Orange to 332 pretty evenly distributed yards.
PENN STATE 38, EASTERN MICHIGAN 28
Passing: Hackenberg, 27-of-43, 308 yards, 2 TD, 52 rushing yards, 2 rushing TD
Rushing: Zwinak, 11 carries, 66 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Robinson, 13 rec., 129 yards
Tackles: Olaniyan, 7 tack, 1.5 sack
Coming off a victory in an NFL venue, Penn State opens at home a bit sluggish against massive underdog Eastern Michigan. The Eagles strike first with a short touchdown run in the first quarter and actually take a lead in to halftime after the teams exchange touchdown drives on four consecutive possessions. Hackenberg picks up both touchdowns for Penn State in the second quarter on short goal-line runs. Penn State takes control in the second half, outscoring the visitors 24-7 with the help of a 17-0 third quarter. Hackenberg tosses two red zone touchdowns to Matt Lehman and Carter and Zwinak caps the Penn State scoring with a touchdown plunge on the goal line midway through the fourth quarter.
It's not pretty but the defense allows just 261 yards of offense and the offense does not turn the football over once in the victory. Hackenberg passes for 308 yards and adds another 52 rushing yards while Allen Robinson leads the Nittany Lions with 129 receiving yards.
CENTRAL FLORIDA 37, PENN STATE 31 (OT)
Passing: Hackenberg 12-of-23, 200 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Zwinak 10 carries, 53 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Carter 7 rec.., 133 yards, 2 TD
Tackling: Carson, 10 tack, 0.5 sack
A year before kicking off in Ireland, Central Florida and Penn State get together in Beaver Stadium and put together an entertaining game, but the end result sends the home crowd home disappointed. Central Florida QB Bortles connects for four touchdown passes and 298 yards as the Golden Knights pull out an overtime victory against the Nittany Lions.
With the win, Central Florida improves to 3-0 while Penn State drops their first contest of the season.
Check back tomorrow for a look at the next three game son the schedule. Also, see how our results are comparing to those shared by our friends over at Black Shoe Diaries.