Recruit Reaction: Verbals Talk Thrilling Win

See what some of those committed to the Lions' class of 2015 had to say about PSU's 26-24 win in the Croke Park Classic.

Andre Robinson had seen this film before, the one where Sam Ficken walks onto the field with his teammates’ hopes hanging in the balance.

If there were doubters ahead of the Penn State kicker’s 36-yard field goal try to beat Central Florida Saturday in the Croke Park Classic, they probably aren’t admitting it now. Fortunately for Robinson, he was on the right side of that fence all along.

“Before it, I thought back to watching practice up there and how much effort they put into special teams,” Robinson said Monday, “especially field goals and PATs.”

The oft-embattled Ficken went on to hook the game-winning kick inside the right goal post to give the Lions a 26-24 victory in Dublin. It was close, sure. But Robinson never doubted it would be true.

“When he made it, I just felt happy for those guys, because they deserve it,” he said.

It was a win that marked something besides the program’s first on international soil plus head coach James Franklin’s inaugural victory. More than that, it was another chance for Penn State to grab a national spotlight.

That’s been the norm since Franklin came aboard in January. Whether through recruiting (where Penn State has the sixth best 2015 class in the country), engagement (where Franklin generally shines) or on-field matters, something is always grabbing a headline.

Of course, that recruiting class is grabbing plenty of its own.

What did some of Robinson’s future teammates have running through their mind before Ficken’s kick won the game?

“I had confidence in Ficken all the way,” Connecticut three-star safety Jarvis Miller said.

“It got scary during the end, but I knew they would pull it out,” New Jersey three-star corner Myles Hartsfield added.

“It got scary during the end, but I knew they would pull it out.”

Malvern, Pa., Great Valley three-star defensive end Ryan Buchholz may have summed it up best.

“Ficken going four for four was perfect,” he said.

The latest chapter in a seemingly never-ending book of excitement since Franklin arrived wasn’t lost on other commitments reached for comment Monday.

There wasn’t a surprise element to the Lions’ win to them. Despite being two-point underdogs and widely picked to lose (including by this writer), those waiting for their chance to take the field in blue and white felt confident game one would equal win one for Franklin.

“I thought that was an awesome win for Coach Franklin and Nittany Nation,” three-star linebacker commit Jake Cooper said. “I was pumped with how well we came out for the first game. The defense was flying around and the offense was looking good.”

Hartsfield felt much the same way. He’ll get to see Franklin and company in action when he visits beaver Stadium for Saturday’s noon clash with Akron.

“I thought that PSU played well,” he said. “I saw a lot of good things.”

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