STATE COLLEGE — KJ Hamler rescued Penn State in regulation. Amani Oruwariye did it in overtime.
And the Nittany Lions avoided being on the end of yet another monumental upset by Appalachian State, sweating though a 45-38 win over the always-game Mountaineers on Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
Penn State’s defense collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing 28 points to trail App State 38-31 with 1:47 left.
From there Hamler, a redshirt freshman wideout playing in his first career game, made a bewildering decision to bring the ensuing kickoff out of the end zone after waiting a few full seconds. Somehow, he brought the ball across midfield.
And then he one-upped himself by grabbing the game-tying touchdown from Trace McSorley with 42 seconds left.
The Mountaineers, aiming to replicate their stunner of Michigan 11 years to the day they beat the Wolverines in the Big House, lined up for a 56-yard field goal at the end of regulation that sailed wide right.
Penn State got the ball to open overtime with Miles Sanders scoring his second touchdown of the game to put the Lions up seven.
After converting a fourth-and-1 on their own possession, the Mountaineers were foiled by Oruwariye, as the fifth-year senior came up with the interception in the end zone to seal the win.
Check back to timesleader.com and see Sunday’s Times Leader for full coverage of the Lions’ stunning opener.
Reach Derek Levarse at 570-991-6396 or on Twitter @TLdlevarse