Penn State Survived The Latest Big Ten Upset Attempt From Appalachian State

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Eleven years ago today, Appalachian State stunned the college football world by walking into the the Big House and taking down fifth-ranked Michigan as an FCS squad. Fast forward to Saturday afternoon and the Mountaineers — now in FBS — just missed doing it again, as the team traveled to Happy Valley and pushed 10th-ranked Penn State to overtime. However, the Nittany Lions were able to come out on top, 45-38.

From the start, Appalachian State took it to the Nittany Lions, which lost a number of key contributors from last year’s season, most notably star running back Saquon Barkley and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. While Penn State scored on the opening drive, Darrynton Evans responded by housing the ensuing kickoff.

Both teams added a field goal prior to the half, sending the teams into the locker room tied at 10. The Nittany Lions looked like they woke up during the second half, though, scoring 14 points in the third quarter. Even when Appalachian State added a touchdown at the start of the fourth, Penn State responded with a score on the following drive.

The Mountaineers were fearless during the fourth quarter, however, hanging 28 points on Penn State and pushing the Nittany Lions to the brink. After Penn State’s only fourth quarter score, Appalachian State marched down the field, scored, surprised their opponents with an onside kick, and scored again. The dagger looked like it was scored by Jalin Moore, who found the end zone on a 16-yard scamper.

Penn State was given a brief glimmer of hope on its final drive, as K.J. Hamler brought the ensuing kickoff to the Mountaineers’ 48 yardline. With 42 seconds remaining, Nittany Lion signal caller Trace McSorley found Hamler for his first passing touchdown of the afternoon.

Appalachian State got the ball back and went down the field, but missed a 56-yard field goal on a 4th and 4. Penn State got the ball back, but kneeled out the clock to send it to overtime. The Nittany Lions got the ball at the start of the extra frame, riding starting running back Miles Sanders to a score. The Mountaineers got a chance to match that score and approached the end zone themselves, but Nittany Lion corner Amani Oruwariye snatched Zac Thomas’ end zone try out of the air.

Appalachian State was expected to be among the best Group of 5 teams in the sport, but this was still a gutsy effort out of the Mountaineers.