Penn State and Syracuse have played one half of football in Metlife Stadium at the Meadowlands and–while the scoring has been low–the storylines have taken over this opening weekend contest between the dueling members of the Big Ten and ACC. As we sit right now, Penn State leads the Orange 6-3 at the half.
The quarterback questions for both teams were answered immediately as true freshman Christian Hackenberg took the field for the Penn State Nittany Lions and Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen was under center for the Orange.
For Penn State, Hackenberg came right out and looked the part. He was solid on his first drive and even ended up punting the ball on the 4th down play. He did have his missteps however as he threw one interception–in which he blatantly stared down his receiver–which stalled a Penn State drive. He shorted a few easy, drop-off passes as well. At the half, Hackenberg is 11-of-15 for 69 yards.
But, as advertised, O’Brien did play Tyler Ferguson and he played him quickly. Ferguson entered the game near the end of the first quarter, however that didn’t end as planned as Ferguson fumbled the pigskin while beginning his delivery on a pass attempt. That fumble was recovered by Syracuse.
The story for Penn State though has been the suspension of their leading receiver, Allen Robinson.
As for Syracuse, Allen has also looked the part at QB for the Orange. The former Oklahoma backup is currently 7-of-13 for 70 yards. He’s made some big plays throwing down the field, and I get the feeling that Scott Shafer will do a lot with this talented young man as the year progresses.
Overall though, this has been a game so far led by the running backs. Penn State starter Zach Zwinak has rumbled for 52 yards on 13 carries, while Syracuse’s Jerome Smith has 48 on 10. The way the two teams are utilizing their backs, it wouldn’t be surprising to see both of these runners end up over the century mark when this is all said and done.