Dublin, Ireland (4E Sports) – Sam Ficken buried a 36-yard field goal as time expired to lift Penn State to a 26-24 win over UCF Saturday at Croke Park Stadium, starting James Franklin’s era on a winning note.
Christian Hackenberg completed 32 of 47 passes for 457 yards and a touchdown but he had two interceptions as Penn State’s offensive line struggled against UCF’s pass rushers.
The offensive line also failed to provide enough running space for the running backs as the Nittany Lions finished with just 57 yards, averaging just two yards a carry.
Geno Lewis caught eight passes for 173 yards and a touchdown while DaeSean Hamilton received 11 passes for 165 yards while Ficken made all four field goals for the Nittany Lions.
Justin Holman completed nine of 14 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown for UCF. He also rushed for two touchdowns.
On the final drive of the game, after losing the lead for the first time, Penn State found itself with three timeouts and a 1:13 to work with.
When the Nittany Lions picked up a first down at midfield with 44 seconds, they decided to hurry up and found themselves at the UCF 46 with only 17 seconds remaining.
Luckily or fortunately for Penn State, the Nittany Lions were able to set up Ficken’s game-winner with three seconds left.