Penn State freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg’s first game proved good enough to earn conference accolades and kicker Sam Ficken also was honored as the Big Ten Conference announced its weekly football awards on Monday.
Hackenberg, just the third true freshman since 1910 to open the season as the Penn State starter, was named Freshman of Week. Hackenberg completed 22 of 31 passes for 278 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the Nittany Lions’ 23-17 victory over Syracuse in East Rutherford, N.J.
Both of Hackenberg’s scoring tosses were more than 50 yards. He connected with Allen Robinson for a 51-yarder in the third quarter and added a 54-yard strike to Geno Lewis in the final period.
Ficken earned Special Teams Player of the Week after connecting on three field goals in the the triumph. Ficken converted on kicks of 36, 35 and a career-high 46 yards.
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Ficken, a junior, has now made 13 consecutive field goals. He earned his second consecutive Big Ten honor, having won Nov. 26 last season.
Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and Northwestern linebacker Collin Ellis also received honors on Monday.
Scheelhaase threw for a career-high 416 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-34 victory over Southern Illinois. Scheelhaase completed 28 of 36 passes and had one interception. The senior climbed to fourth on Illinois’ career total offense list with 7,480 yards.
Ellis become the first player in Wildcat history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same game as Northwestern won a 44-30 shootout at California. Ellis had returns of 56 and 40 yards off deflected passes. He also had four tackles, including one for a loss.
Penn State hosts Eastern Michigan on Saturday at noon.