CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Had he made the last one, the other missed kicks might have been forgotten.
It wasn't meant to be, however. Sam Ficken missed a 42-yard field goal as time expired and Penn State lost, 17-16, to Virginia this afternoon.
Ficken missed three field goals and had an extra point blocked. Virginia scored the game-winning touchdown with just over a minute to go when quarterback Michael Rocco completed a six-yard pass to tight end Jake McGee. McGee had caught a 44-yard pass to keep the drive, which lasted for over six minutes, alive earlier.
It was one of the few negative spots for a defense that otherwise dominated. Through three quarters, Penn State gave up just 200 total yards and one scoring drive.
Gerald Hodges recovered a fumble in the third quarter for the third turnover of the day. Michael Mauti forced a fumble in the first half and Jordan Hill had an interception.
Problem was, the offense couldn't do much when it got the ball back. Penn State scored zero points off those turnovers -- Ficken missed field goals of more than 30 yards after two of them. He also missed a 20-yard field goal in the third quarter.
For a while it appeared that the missed kicks wouldn't matter.
Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin, returning from an arm injury that knocked him out of the game in the second quarter, hit Allen Robinson with a touchdown pass late in the third quarter, but Ficken missed the extra point, leaving the Lions with a 13-10 lead.
Midway through the fourth, after yet another turnover, Penn State finally capitalized, with Ficken hitting a 36-year field goal for a 16-10 State lead.
But the defense had to make another stop, and it couldn't.
After Virginia scored to make it 17-16, Penn State drove the ball down to the Cavaliers' 25 yard-line, setting up a final try for Ficken, who missed.
Mark Dent: firstname.lastname@example.org.