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Penn State can't make kicks in loss

Penn State’s Sam Ficken walks off the field after missing his fourth field goal of the game, which gives Virginia a 17-16 win.

Associated Press

Penn State’s Sam Ficken walks off the field after missing his fourth field goal of the game, which gives Virginia a 17-16 win.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Penn State is still looking for its first win under coach Bill O'Brien. The Nittany Lions might not get more chances than they had against Virginia on Saturday.

Michael Rocco hit Jake McGee on a 6-yard touchdown with 1:28 left to give Virginia a 17-16 victory over Penn State.

The Nittany Lions, who have lost their first two games under their new coach, drove to the Cavs 25. But Sam Ficken missed his fourth field goal, a 42-yarder, as time expired. He also missed from 20, 40 and 38 yards.

Anthony Fera, last season's kicker, transferred to Texas before the season after the NCAA ruled he and others would not have to sit out a season in light of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.

"I think there are some things to build on," said O'Brien, whose team lost 24-14 to Ohio in its opener. "I think these kids play extremely hard. They really emptied the tank."

Virginia's winning drive took 6:36 and covered 86 yards in 12 plays, the biggest blow a 44-yard pass from Rocco to McGee on third and 16 from its 22. Seven plays later, on third and goal, Rocco found McGee open just inside the end zone.

"After the touchdown, Matt McGloin drove Penn State from its 27 to the Virginia 22. He took a knee to center the ball with one second left. But with rain falling, Ficken's kick sailed wide left.

"Percentages say you have a better chance making a kick from the middle of the field than you do from the hash; just center the ball," O'Brien said. "We did a really good job on that drive, so we just need to finish that drive."

Virginia center Luke Bowanko said he found it hard to watch Ficken's last attempt.

"Whoever turned the rain machine on, thanks," he said. "It's almost at that point you did all you can do."

Clemson has another big offensive day

CLEMSON, S.C. — DeAndre Hopkins caught three touchdowns and Andre Ellington ran for two as No. 12 Clemson routed Ball State 52-17.

Clemson has surpassed 500 yards of offense in both of its wins — without All-America receiver Sammy Watkins, who is suspended for two games for an offseason drug arrest. His return has quarterback Tajh Boyd excited.

"Oh, man," Boyd said with a smile. "It's going to get ugly."

Ellington, who ran for a career-high 228 yards last week, scored on Clemson's first two series. Then Boyd found Hopkins for touchdowns of 13, 34 and 15 yards on consecutive second-quarter series to make it 35-10.

No. 15 Va. Tech 42, Austin Peay 7: Kyshoen Jarrett's 46-yard punt return and Tony Gregory's blocked punt set up first-half touchdowns that helped the host Hokies overcome a slow start on offense against the I-AA Governors. The win came five days after an overtime victory over Georgia Tech. "I'm not sure why we started slow, but I think we've got a lot of new faces," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "There were a lot of guys that were playing for the first time as a starter, and that is not an excuse. (Austin Peay's) guys played hard and played to the end."

Wake 28, N. Carolina 27: Tanner Price's 1-yard sneak with 2:09 left lifted the host Demon Deacons. Price threw for a career-high 327 yards for Wake, which struggled to beat I-AA Liberty last week. Of those, 164, on 13 catches, went to Michael Campanaro. "It's an unreal feeling," said Price, who led the 11-play, 93-yard winning drive. "It's so great to get a win like that against a rival team at home, especially after a week we had like last week."

BC 34, Maine 3: Spiffy Evans caught one touchdown and returned a punt 82 yards for another touchdown for the host Eagles. Down 7-3, the Eagles took over at the 10 of the I-AA Black Bears after a botched punt snap. Two plays later, Johnathan Coleman caught a 9-yard touchdown. Evans, who caught a 3-yard touchdown during the second quarter, made it 27-3 with his punt return. "Spiffy played a little better than he did in practice," Boston College coach Frank Spaziani said. "He did some good things."

Ga. Tech 59, Presbyterian 3: Six players ran for touchdowns as the host Yellow Jackets put up 712 yards, 469 rushing. Vad Lee, a redshirt freshman, shared quarterbacking duties. In the third quarter, he had a 1-yard touchdown run, 82-yard touchdown pass and 79-yard run to set up a touchdown.

Penn State can't make kicks in loss 09/08/12 [Last modified: Sunday, September 9, 2012 12:13am]
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