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Indiana 36, Penn State 35: Rapid Reaction of a Stunning Game

Indiana beat Penn State on a breathtaking two-point conversion by quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. ran for a two-point conversion in overtime, apparently touching the pylon with the football before going out of bounds, to give Indiana a breathtaking 36-35 overtime victory against Penn State on Saturday.

How it happened: How does a team overcome a first half that included three turnovers, two misplayed returns, the loss of its starting running back and two missed field goals? And then how does it lose? Because of a late mental lapse on the goal line in a game-clinching situation, a mised 57-yard field goal and Penix Jr.'s stunning effort.

Penix hit Whop Philyor for an overtime touchdown pass, pulling the Hoosiers within one. At that point, Indiana coach Tom Allen went for the victory, and Penix Jr. scrambled for the win.

Penix, playing for the first time in 10 months, dived past Penn State's Jaquan Brisker and touched the end zone pylon. Both teams celebrated the result, as Penn State thought Penix was out of bounds.

But the play was ruled a touchdown and not overturned on replay. That gave Indiana only its second win over Penn State and its first over a top-10 team since 1987.

The defining moment: In a game of mistakes, the biggest came from Penn State running back Devyn Ford. Late in the fourth quarter, Ford scored with 1:42 left, giving the Lions a 28-20 lead. But Franklin wanted Ford to go down at the 1-yard line and run more clock. Ford tried, but momentum carried him into the end zone.

So of course, Indiana drove 75 yards in seven plays for the tying touchdown and two-point conversion.

And even then it wasn't over. Indiana mis-hit a squib kick, giving Penn State juicy field position. With 8 second left, coach James Franklin sent out kicker Jordan Stout to attempt a 57-yarder instead of trying a quick pass to get a little closer.

Stout, who last week said he was comfortable kicking from 65 yards, came up just short. And to overtime they went.

Clifford struggled with early adrenaline, overthrowing two interceptions, and didn't have much throwing room downfield. But he cooled himself with designed runs (Clifford was the game's leading rusher with 97 yards) and waiting for his opportunity.

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It came with 2:30 remaining. Clifford waited for Dotson to clear coverage on his deep post, then hit him in stride for a 60-yard score. Ultimately, the play happened too soon for Penn State.

The good news: Clifford's 35-yard touchdown run in the second half was vital, considering that Penn State's running game was erratic without starting back Noah Cain (though 230-pound freshman Keyvone Lee had his moments). Clifford's run game was something the Hoosiers hoped to contain after the quarterback ran for two touchdowns against them last year. Didn't work.

Penn State's defensive line certainly made Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. uncomfortable all game long. Shaka Toney punctuated that pressure with back-to-back sacks after the go-ahead touchdown, leading to a possession change.

Receviers Parker Washington went to the ground for two exceptional catches in overtime, one for a touchdown.

The bad news: Running back Noah Cain was injured on the first series, a huge blow to an offense that already was without projected starter Journey Brown. Cain was on the sideline with crutches in the second half.

Special teams struggled. A fumbled punt was reversed because the Indiana defender went out of bounds, and another kickoff was misplayed. And kicker Jake Pinegar missed two field goals, hitting an upright from 25 yards to end the first half.

One series really underscored how prone Penn State was to mistakes. In the first half, the Lions misplayed a kickoff, had a pass dropped by Freiermuth and watched Clifford throw his second interception of the half. Indiana quickly followed that with Stevie Scott's second rushing touchdown to take a 17-7 lead.

Quarterback Will Levis fumbled inside the Indiana 10-yard line, ending a potential scoring drive that the Lions needed desperately. Levis had entered earlier, taking a delay penalty on third down, which Clifford cleaned up with a conversion to freshman KeAndre Lambert-Smith.

Linebacker Jesse Luketa will miss the first half of the Ohio State game after being called for targeting.