The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

November 3, 2013

Penn State rebounds to sneak past Illinois

STATE COLLEGE — Christian Hackenberg hit Kyle Carter with a 15-yard touchdown pass in overtime and Ryan Keiser sealed the win with an end zone interception, lifting Penn State over Illinois 24-17 on Saturday.

Bill Belton rushed for 201 yards, the first Nittany Lion rusher  to hit the 200-yard mark since Larry Johnson in 2002.

Penn State’s Sam Ficken kicked a 35-yard field goal with 41 seconds left in regulation, sending the game into OT.

Hackenberg, who threw for 240 yards, zipped a perfect pass over the middle to Carter for the winner.

Nathan Scheelhaase’s first pass of OT was picked off by Keiser. With a strong second half, Scheelhaase rallied the Illini (3-5, 0-4 Big Ten) back from a 14-0 first-half hole to give them the lead.

Both teams were coming off blowout losses: Penn State was crushed 63-14 at Ohio State and Michigan State thumped the Illini 42-3.

Under coach Bill O’Brien, the Nittany Lions haven’t lost two straight games since their 0-2 start last season.

Scheelhaase did his best to end that streak.

He was strong when needed on Illinois’ late fourth-quarter drive. He eluded pressure on a 12-yard scramble to the 36. With Illinois facing third-and-10, Penn State called its last timeout.

Scheelhaase then hit Jon Davis for a 9-yard gain and completed the drive with a

7-yard touchdown pass to Josh Ferguson for a 17-14 lead.

Penn State (5-3, 2-2) tried to pull off the comeback in much the same way it beat undefeated Michigan in a four-overtime thriller last month.

Hackenberg’s sideline heave was caught by Allen Robinson for a 39-yard gain. Robinson, who caught 11 passes for 165 yards, had one foot in bounds and an incomplete call was reversed on review.

Belton, in his one mistake, couldn’t hang on to the ball as he plowed into Illinois’ line and lost a fumble with 3:23 left.

Penn State still got one more shot, starting at Illinois’ 49 thanks to an awful punt.

Hackenberg failed to connect with Brandon Felder on two shots at the end zone. Ficken still had enough time for the tying field goal.

The Nittany Lions won their second straight game at home in OT.

Scheelhaase, who threw for 321 yards, went 8 of 10 on Illinois’ third-quarter scoring drive, capped by Ferguson’s 6-yard touchdown run that cut it to 14-10.

Illinois had little trouble in the first half moving the ball against Penn State, it just

couldn’t finish drives with a score.

Scheelhaase had a ball tipped in Penn State territory and intercepted by cornerback Jordan Lucas at the 1. The Nittany Lions pounced, with Belton ripping off a 16-yard run and Hackenberg and Robinson connecting on a 47-yard reception, setting up Belton’s 5-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.

Again, Illinois drove the ball with ease, only to have a touchdown called back because of a chop block penalty.

Belton and Robinson were the only Nittany Lions to rush or catch the ball in the first quarter and combined for all 151 yards of offense.

Hackenberg ended a 17-play scoring drive, Penn State’s longest of the season, with a 6-yard rush for a 14-0 lead in the second.

The Nittany Lions wasted a chance to head into halftime with a shutout on the final play of the half.

The Nittany Lions were whistled for a personal foul on Scheelhaase on the final play of the half.

With no time left on the clock, Illinois took advantage, and Taylor Zalewski kicked a 20-yard field goal to make it 14-3.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014

  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo