EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Things went from bad to great to awful to hallelujah for Penn State in the second quarter.
Nothing was falling in the Nittany Lions’ favor for the first quarter and half of the second against Syracuse at MetLife Stadium. Wideout Allen Robinson didn’t play for unknown reasons, tight end Matt Lehman was carted off the field after an apparent leg injury, and quarterback Tyler Ferguson fumbled under no clear pressure on his second snap. At least true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg was playing well in first collegiate start.
Then, within just a few game minutes, Penn State’s Carl Nassib tackled the punter on fourth down, Hackenberg promptly threw a pick, Stephen Obeng-Agyapong recovered a fumble, Sam Ficken faked a field goal, and, finally, kicked a real one.
All that happened, and the half ended in a surprising 6-3 Penn State lead.