The cheers of excitement and jubilation signaling the start of another college football season turned into hollers of frustration and nervous energy in Happy Valley.

It looked like Penn State would make quick work of Appalachian State in the season opener on Saturday afternoon. It took Trace McSorley and the offense just 2:58 seconds and seven plays to find the end zone. The Nittany Lions took an early 7-0 lead and appeared to be too overpowering for the Mountaineers.

But on the ensuing kickoff, Appalachian State’s Darrynton Evans fielded the kick and raced 100 yards for a tying touchdown.

Game on.

The two teams were deadlocked at 10-10 going into halftime. Neither team was able to get much going after the two early scores.

Penn State appeared to rid itself of those first-game jitters early in the second half, coming up with two big touchdowns in the third quarter. First it was a 10-yard run from McSorley. Seven minutes later, running back Ricky slate trotted across the goal line to give the Lions a 24-10 advantage.

Offensively, Penn State had its hiccups — most expected it would with Saquon Barkley and Joe Moorhead gone — but it finally started clicking and the Lions appeared to be in full control. Go ahead and chalk up that tally mark in the win column.

Appalachian State refused to roll over, though. Instead, the Mountaineers had outscored Penn State 28-7 in the fourth quarter, taking a 38-31 lead with 1:47 left in the contest. The Nittany Lions couldn’t stop quarterback Zac Thomas, who completed 25-of-38 passes for 270 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both scores coming in the fourth quarter. He also came up with 43 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground.

On this day 11 years ago, Appalachian State pulled off the biggest upset in college football, defeating a ranked Michigan team in Ann Arbor. With less than two minutes left, it looked like the Mountaineers would stun another B1G program.

McSorley pulled another trick out of his bag, driving the offense down the field and hooking up with KJ Hamler for a game-tying score on a 15-yard strike. It pushed the game to overtime, where Miles Sanders shined, scoring on Penn State’s first possession, and doing so with relative ease.

Then an in interception from Amani Oruwariye sealed the victory for Penn State. And a huge sigh of relief could be heard from Beaver Stadium.

Appalachian State gave the Nittany Lions all they could handle, especially the defense. Without Barkley in the backfield and Moorhead calling the shots, everyone expected Penn State’s offense to struggle. But the defense’s shortcomings are the more important story after Week 1.

Penn State didn’t look like a team that had competed for a B1G title the last two years. Unless something changes defensively, the Nittany Lions won’t be competing for one in 2018.