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Marginal Victory After a lackluster performance against Indiana, the Nittany Lions fretted over the close score while the Hoosiers celebrated it

Jan. 18, 1995
Jan. 18, 1995

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Jan. 18, 1995

Marginal Victory After a lackluster performance against Indiana, the Nittany Lions fretted over the close score while the Hoosiers celebrated it

Bobby Engram, Penn State's brilliant wideout, was standing on the
sideline as the final gun sounded. Indiana had just completed a
15-point rally over the game's last two minutes to turn what had been
a Penn State walkover into a 35-29 Penn State victory, and as Engram
waded through the Indiana fans celebrating their team's narrow
defeat, he looked up at the scoreboard.
''I thought to myself, Damn, that score looks awfully close,''
says Engram.
Winning margins had become a matter of keen interest for the
Nittany Lions. After they had slipped to No. 2 in the AP poll the
week before despite beating Ohio State by 49 points, how would a
six-point win over a weak Indiana team look to the voters in the
coaches' poll? Not good enough. The coaches, too, knocked Penn State
down to No. 2, behind Nebraska.
While it is true that the game was not nearly as close as the
final score suggests -- Penn State led 35-14 with less than two
minutes to play -- it is also true that the Lions were off-key for
the first time in '94. ''You can't blow everybody out,'' said tight
end Kyle Brady after the game. Added Engram, ''Sometimes you have
days like this.''
In a desperate attempt to stop Penn State's potent running attack,
Indiana put eight men within a yard of the line of scrimmage. The
formation worked to some extent, allowing the Hoosiers to hold the
Lions to 246 yards on the ground, 23 less than their average. And
though they faced single coverage in the secondary, the Lions did not
complete a pass of more than 23 yards all day. Meanwhile, Indiana
quarterback Chris Dittoe was throwing for 279 yards and four
touchdowns against a defense that was missing three starters because
of injuries.
Despite their uninspired performance, the Lions led 28-7 early in
the fourth quarter. At that point, sanity deserted Memorial Stadium.
With about 11 minutes remaining, Penn State's Mike Archie returned a
punt 89 yards for a touchdown, but the play was called back because
of a holding penalty. Eight minutes later, Penn State linebacker
Brian Gelzheiser took a fumble back 75 yards for a score, but the
touchdown -- and the fumble -- were wiped out by a face-mask penalty.
Indiana scored its last touchdown on a 40-yard Hail Mary from Dittoe
to Dorian Wilkerson, who stumbled into the end zone as time expired.
The Hoosiers then completed a pointless two-point conversion and the
''celebration'' commenced.
''The Indiana people looked like they had won it,'' Lion coach Joe
Paterno said afterward. And some of the Penn State people looked like
they had lost it.

This is an article from the Jan. 18, 1995 issue