Penn State to Start Freshman Christian Hackenberg Against Syracuse

Andrew CoppensContributor IAugust 30, 2013

Penn State's quarterback battle went on much longer than anyone—especially head coach Bill O'Brien—expected, lasting all the way up to the game preparation for the opener against Syracuse.

Now, with under a day left before the Nittany Lions take on the Orange at MetLife Stadium, the winner of the quarterback battle has been declared.

Josh Moyer of ESPN is reporting that true freshman Christian Hackenberg will open up the season as the starter, beating out JUCO transfer Tyler Ferguson.

However, reading too much into that decision may not be a wise choice, as O'Brien has also indicated that regardless of who wins the job,both quarterbacks are likely to see time against Syracuse. 

As reported by Moyer, the head coach indicated during his weekly radio show that both quarterbacks must be prepared to play: 

The guy who's the starter is going to play the majority of the snaps. But I think it's important when you have two young guys—it's a totally different situation from last year—is that whoever the backup is needs to get his feet wet a little bit.


When Hackenberg leads the Nittany Lions out on to the field Saturday, he'll be just the third true freshman quarterback to start for Penn State. The first happened all the way back in 1910 as Shorty Miller took the reigns of the QB job. Rob Bolden, in 2010, was the last.

Bolden was the only true freshman to ever start at QB during the 40-plus years of the Joe Paterno era. 

My, how quickly times have changed.

With O'Brien's reputation for developing quarterbacks, it will be interesting to see how Hackenberg and Ferguson are used Saturday and as the rest of the season goes along.