(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
DUBLIN (AP) Penn State won a thrilling season opener with a 36-yard field goal as time expired to defeat the University of Central Florida 26-24 in front of a raucous 55,000-strong crowd in Ireland.
Behind second-half replacement quarterback Justin Holman, the Knights appeared to have scored their own unlikely come-from-behind victory when Holman scored on a 6-yard touchdown run to put UCF up 24-23 with 1:13 left.
But Christian Hackenberg - capping a 32-for-47, 454-yard performance - coolly directed a seven-play drive to set up Sam Ficken's fourth successful field goal as Penn State players stormed the field in joy. Hackenberg ran 8 yards for a first down on a 4th-down play in Penn State's own half of the field during the final drive.