Rapid Reaction: Indiana Battles But Comes Up Short at Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Now that things have changed this year at Indiana, there is no such thing as moral victories for the Hoosiers. And Saturday at Penn State was no different.
The Hoosiers hung tough and even scored twice in the the fourth quarter, but Penn State sealed the deal with an impressive 18-play game-ending drive, winning 34-27 at Beaver Stadium.
Indiana junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey did well in his first start after taking over for good for Michael Penix Jr., who's out for the year after clavicle surgery. Ramsey was 31-for-41 passing for 371 yards and three touchdowns, one passing and two rushing.
Ramsey was careful running all day, sliding when he had to and getting out of bounds, but late in the game he made some big plays with his feet, too. He finished with 31 yards rushing rushing and those two touchdowns.
The Hoosiers stood toe-to-toe with Penn State in the first half, and were hurt badly by two turnovers, both of which were closely reviewed and could have gone the other way,
The first one was on a punt after Penn State's first series, a three-and-out. Indiana's Whop Philyor let it bounce and then decided to try to pick it up before thinking otherwise. It was ruled that he touched it and Penn State recovered. The Nittany Lions scored five plays later on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Sean Clifford to Nick Bowers.
Indiana's offense was sharp in the first quarter, and immediately answered with a touchdown drive of its own. Ramsey found Ty Fryfogle wide open on a blown coverage and hit him for a 38-yard score.
The Hoosiers scored on their next possession, too, with Ramsey capping the drive on a 1-yard run to give Indiana a 14-10 lead with 3:27 to go in the first.
But the Hoosiers wouldn't score again in the half, They punted three times and turned it over again when Philyor was hit hard after a reception. The play was reviewed, and it looked like a targeting call could have been made, but it wasn't. Philyor left for the locker room and didn't return.
Indiana tried a fake punt on its first possession of the second half, which might as well have been a turnover, too. The Hoosiers lined up in a strange formation with the left side overloaded, but Penn State was keen that something was up. The ball was snapped short to Peyton Hendershot, but with no blockers there, he was tackled immediately. Indiana coach Tom Allen said it was a mistake, that the snap was not supposed to go to Hendershot, and the plan was to punt if they didn't get the right look.
Penn State scored on the very next play, a 35-yard run by Journey Brown to go up 27-14. That was 17 unanswered points for the Nittany Lions.
Indiana followed with a nice 14-play drive, and even had a good chance to score a touchdown, but senior receiver Donovan Hale dropped a pass in the end zone. Indiana had to settle for a Logan Justus field goal to make it 27-17.
The Hoosiers followed that up with another impressive drive, though, cutting the lead to 27-24 after an 11-play, 91-yard drive ended with a Ramsey 1-yard run
Penn State closed out the game with an impressive 18-play drive that featured several conversions on third and fourth down. Clifford scrambled on third-and-9 once, Indiana issed tackles on tight end Pat Freiermuth for another first down and Clifford scored on a short run.
Indiana drove downfield again but had to settle for a field goal with 13 seconds left. They could not convert the onsides kick.
NEXT UP: Indiana (7-3) plays No. 15-ranked Michigan (8-2) on Saturday in the final home game of the year at Memorial Stadium. The game starts at 3:30 p.m. ET