JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The odds finally caught up with Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg here Saturday.
The three-year starter had been sacked 103 times in his career heading into the Nittany Lions’ TaxSlayer bowl matchup with Georgia. And he had been pounded with hits after throwing or running dozens and dozens of times.
And yet he had never been seriously injured.
That changed at EverBank Field here. In the second quarter, Hackenberg scrambled for five yards before being tackled by DB Roquan Smith. Trailing from behind, defensive end Michael Barnett landed on top of Hackenberg and the QB could be seen grimacing and later favoring his right (throwing) shoulder.
He remained in the game for six more plays — completing three passes for 75 yards to Chris Godwin — before he headed to the sideline. He was replaced by Trace McSorley.
Hackenberg was taken to the locker room and did not return before the half. At the start of the second half, he walked to the PSU sideline in street clothes.
After the game, head coach James Franklin reported that Hackenberg had a sprained shoulder.
A junior, Hackenberg had been noncommittal on whether he intended to enter the 2016 NFL Draft. After the 24-17 loss, he declared for the draft, so he ends his Lion career with 8,457 yards and 48 touchdowns.