PSU-Eastern Michigan highlights, lowlights
UNIVERSITY PARK – Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State’s 45-7 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday at Beaver Stadium:
Play of the game: A game like this typically doesn’t produce a single, game-defining play so we’ll go with Akeel Lynch’s 18-yard touchdown run that closed the scoring with 4:26 remaining. On a day when John Cappelletti’s No. 22 was retired, Lynch (No. 22) scored his first career TD.
Offensive player of the game: PSU receiver Allen Robinson caught seven passes for 129 yards and a 45-yard touchdown. He also recovered a fumble.
Defensive player of the game: Penn State defensive tackle DaQuan Jones made nine tackles (for the second straight game), including two for loss.
Most telling statistic: Eastern Michigan punted 11 times.
Hidden statistic: Of the Nittany Lions’ 251 net yards rushing, 193 came in the second half, when they averaged 7.7 yards on 25 carries.
Best run: Bill Belton juked to daylight for a 15-yard gain to the Eastern Michigan 5, setting up the Lions’ second touchdown (a 5-yard Belton run) and a 14-7 lead.
Best pass: Christian Hackenberg perfectly led a fully-extended Robinson for a 43-yard gain to the EMU 8 in the first quarter.
Worst pass: Hackenberg had freshman Richy Anderson open for a touchdown in the second quarter but overshot him.
Best catch: Anderson pulled in a juggling one-hander in the third quarter.
Catch it, will ya: Eastern Michigan holder Mark Iannotti dropped the snap on an early field-goal attempt.
Hold it, won’t ya: Hackenberg fumbled while dropping back in the first quarter without being hit. The Eagles’ Hunter Matt scooped it up at the Lions’ 11 and scored. Later in the first half, Brandon Felder fumbled following a 16-yard reception, but Robinson alertly recovered.
Best block: Lynch did a nice job on a blitz pickup in the second quarter.
Best tackle: PSU defensive end C.J. Olaniyan dumped Eastern Michigan quarterback Tyler Benz for an 8-yard loss late in the first half.
Best hit: Lion safety Adrian Amos drilled EMU tight end Tyreese Russell after a 12-yard reception late in the third quarter.
Best kick: Sam Ficken’s 39-yard field goal with 17 seconds left in the first half – his 14th straight, a school record, dating back to 2012 – pushed PSU up 17-7.
Worst kick: EMU’s Dylan Mulder missed a 42-yard field goal in the second quarter with the Eagles only down 14-7.
Best call: During a two-minute drill late in the first half, Penn State sprung a draw to Belton for a 20-yard gain.
Worst call: If Penn State didn’t make a first down, facing fourth-and-4 from the Eastern Michigan 12 in the third quarter and leading 17-7, this would have been it. Instead, Hackenberg hit Felder for the first-down yardage.
Worst penalty: Pick one of the three first-half holding calls against the Lions.
Best effort: PSU linebacker Nyeem Wartman made six tackles and broke up three passes.
Unsung hero: Considering the PSU offense gave up the Lions’ only score, new defensive coordinator John Butler’s unit pitched a shutout and turned in its second straight strong game.