Quarterback Christian Hackenberg emerged as an offensive star, completing 21 of 35 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns.
Army coach Jeff Monken has seen the tape, and after racking up 556 rushing yards against Eastern Michigan, knows Penn State’s defense poses the biggest challenge of the season so far for his squad. Penn State faces Indiana next. Linebacker Jason Cabinda sacked the quarterback before he could record his second passing attempt.
Redshirt freshman running back Nick Scott rushed for a touchdown and junior tight end Mike Gesicki had a receiving score for the Nittany Lions (4-1). Army finished with 261 yards on the ground against the Nittany Lions.
The first half was played in a steady rain, but the precipitation lightened in the third quarter and disappeared after that. The quarterback sprinted into the end zone to celebrate with his tight end as fireworks shot out of the top of the stadium.
Army did not cross midfield until the third quarter, amid an eight-play, 76-yard TD drive that included the Black Knights’ first pass of the game, a 32-yard connection from Schurr to sophomore wide receiver Edgar Allan Poe.
It’s the fourth straight home game for Penn State.
After Scott scored on an 11-yard run five minutes into the game – set up by a fumbled punt – the Lions managed six points on their next six possessions. Julius kicked two field goals, but punter Chris Gulla punted poorly before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury and there were no returns of note. Penn State could never really pull away from the Black Knights, but was able to survive both sloppy weather and sloppy play. Hackenberg kept the drive alive with a 19-yard scramble on third down. It wasn’t always pretty for the Lions (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) as the offense stalled after giftwrapped opportunities, in the form of three Army first-half fumbles, led to 10 points and the Nittany Lion defense surrendered chunk plays and missed tackles in the second half. Sure, Army put up 14 points, including a 56 yard touchdown run by AJ Schurr, but overall they were impressive. From the Army 44, Schurr faked into the line and kept the ball, veered right, broke a tackle by Jordan Lucas at the 25, and went all the way for the 56-yard touchdown.