Penn State coach Bill O'Brien has tabbed Christian Hackenberg as his starting QB. (Centre Daily Times/Getty Images)
True freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg has edged out JUCO transfer Tyler Ferguson and will start at quarterback for Penn State when the Nittany Lions take the field Saturday against Syracuse at MetLife Stadium, ESPN.com reports.
The 6-foot-4 Hackenberg was ESPN's top-ranked passer in the 2013 recruiting class out of Fort Union (Va.) Military Academy, where he threw for 2,144 yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions while completing 54 percent of his passes as a senior.
In Bill O'Brien's first season as Penn State head coach, the Nittany Lions had the No. 35 passing offense in the nation behind senior quarterback Matt McGloin, who threw for 3,271 yards and 24 touchdowns. Penn State went 8-4 in its first season of postseason ineligibility — three such seasons remain.