On Further Review: Hack Stands Tall

The Penn State quarterback displayed one of his greatest attributes on a long throw Saturday. And it wasn't that rocket arm.

DUBLIN -- Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg had a monster game in the Nittany Lions' 26-24 win over UCF at Croke Park here Saturday.

His most impressive play was a 79-yard touchdown strike to Geno Lewis, but not simply because it covered so much distance. On the bomb, Hackenberg stood in the pocket and waited for Lewis to break free.

And the QB paid the price. Though the Knights were only rushing four men, end Luke Adams beat offensive tackle Donovan Smith, and drilled Hackenberg just as he was releasing the ball.

NFL scouts love Hackenberg for a lot of reasons. The fact that he does not panic in the face of pressure may be his most overlooked attribute, though.

As great as Hackenberg looked on this play, it was not one of Smith's better moments.

Hackenberg also has a rocket arm. How strong is it? Despite being hit on the release of the aforementioned play, the ball to Lewis went from the PSU 15 to the UCF 40, or 45 yards. Adding more distance was the fact that Lewis caught the ball near the left sideline.

Penn State field corners Da'Quan Davis and Trevor Williams both gave up big plays Saturday. But how badly were they really burned?

In the third quarter, Davis let WR Breshad Perriman get behind him on a 50-yard completion to the 1-yard line. But Davis really was not in terrible position. The pass was good and the catch even better.

In the fourth quarter, Williams let WR Josh Reese get behind him on a key fourth-down play. They appeared to tangle feet and both stumbled to the ground. That gave Reese just enough separation to make a 37-yard, falling grab. Another outstanding catch and another very good throw.

The point is that both PSU CBs appeared to be in fairly good position until the final second before the respective catches. Nobody is suggesting that is enough. But the two plays could be good learning experiences for both guys.

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