Miles Sanders scored a 4-yard touchdown on the fourth play of the first overtime and No. 10 Penn State held on to avoid a major upset with a wild 45-38 victory over visiting Appalachian State at Beaver Stadium on Saturday.
After blowing a 31-17 lead in the final 11-plus minutes of regulation, the Nittany Lions (1-0) escaped when Sanders scored his second rushing TD of the game.
The Mountaineers had a chance to take the lead in the final minute of regulation but kicker Chandler Staton missed a 56-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining.
After regaining the lead in overtime, Penn State allowed the Mountaineers (0-1) to get to the 15 on their first drive of overtime. But Amani Oruwariye intercepted Zac Thomas’ pass in the end zone to end the game.
Before escaping with its sixth straight win in a home opener, Penn State held a 31-17 lead on Sanders’ 2-yard score with 11:17 to play. A 24-yard scoring grab by Malik Williams with 7:40 left, Thomas’ 1-yard scramble with 6:03 left and Jalin Moore’s 16-yard run with 1:47 left in regulation put Appalachian State ahead 38-31.
Penn State tied the game when Trace McSorley found KJ Hamler up the middle for a 15-yard TD with 42 seconds left.
On the 11th anniversary of its 34-32 stunner at the Big House against Michigan, the Mountaineers nearly did it again, outscoring Penn State 28-14 in the fourth quarter.
McSorley rushed for two short touchdowns and completed 21 of 36 passes for 230 yards and the one score. He extended the nation’s longest active streak of games with a touchdown pass to 29.
Thomas made his first collegiate state and first start since breaking his leg in high school nearly three years ago and finished 25 of 38 for 270 yards, two touchdowns and the interception.
Ricky Slade also scored on a 27-yard run as Penn State totaled 204 yards on the ground.
Darrynton Evans had a 100-yard kickoff return for a score and Chandler Staton kicked a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter for Appalachian State, which entered the game as a 24-point underdog.
—Field Level Media