Well, it wasn’t pretty, but all Penn State faithful will remember about James Franklin’s debut as head coach is a victory in Dublin, Ireland. With a last-second Sam Ficken 36-yard field goal, the Nittany Lions slipped past Central Florida 26-24, escaping a near meltdown on international soil.
Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg set a new school record with 454 yards passing, while wide receivers and fellow underclassmen Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton combined for 19 receptions, 338 yards and one touchdown. It was a great team victory, however, as the offense, defense and special teams all did just enough to hang on against a quality mid-major program.
After the game, an ESPN sideline reporter caught up with Franklin on the field, where he seemed to be overcome with all sorts of emotions—one of which was pure bliss.
“I don't know what the flight regulations are, but we're going to be partying all the way back to the United States.”
It was a sloppy game, Penn State played undisciplined and their new head coach made some questionable decisions, both with regard to the game plan and play-calling. That being said, the Nittany Lions traveled halfway across the world and came away with a win. It’s hard to find much negative to say about that.