Penn State Survives Indiana

Chris Rossetti

Chris Rossetti

Published October 21, 2018 4:19 am
Penn State Survives Indiana

Trace McSorley Penn StateBLOOMINGTON, Ind. (EYT) – The lead held – barely – this time.

(Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

Penn State scored 10 points off two Indiana fumble recoveries to build yet another double-digit fourth-quarter lead before surviving a late Indiana touchdown that was followed by a Hoosiers onside kick recover moments after a James Franklin timeout negated an onside recovery by the Nittany Lions in a 33-28 win at Indiana that broke a two-game losing streak for the Nittany Lions.

Trace McSorely’s second rushing touchdown of the game with 10:25 left gave the Nittany Lions a 33-21 lead, and that lead seemed safe when Nick Scott intercepted a Peyton Ramsey pass at the Penn State 36 with 4:35 to go.

But the Nittany Lions play calling again left a lot to be desired as two incomplete passes and a zero-yard pass to Miles Sanders ate up all of 29 seconds off the clock and gave Indiana the ball back down 12 at its own 15-yard line.

Fifteen plays later, the Hoosiers were in the end zone thanks to a 21-yard Ramsey to J-Shun Harris pass with 49 seconds to play.

But with only one timeout, Indiana was forced to kick an onside kick, and Penn State appeared to have the game wrapped up when Brandon Polk recovered the boot before it went 10 yards.

Franklin, the Penn State coach whose decision making has come into questions following consecutive losses to Ohio State and Michigan State for the second straight year, called a timeout just before the kick giving the Hoosiers a do-over.

And Indiana took advantage when Scott tried to catch and run with the ensuing kick and couldn’t handle it with Indiana recovering at its own 42.

But Penn State (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) survived the coach’s decision thanks to a holding penalty, a sack and possibly a generous clock-running decision by the official on a third-and-13 pass from Ramsey to Nick Westbrook along the sideline. Westbrook appeared to get out of bounds, but the referee ran the clock forcing Indiana to run a rushed fourth-down play that while complete went for only five yards as the clock ran out.

Until McSorley, who rushed for 107 yards and had 327 total yards of offense despite seeing his FBS-leading 34-game touchdown pass streak come to an end, scored back-to-back touchdowns for Penn State in a span of just over eight minutes, Indiana was poised for a program-defining win it has been seeking.

Stevie Scott’s second touchdown run of the afternoon with 4:01 left in the third quarter gave the Hoosiers a 21-20 lead.

But that lead was shortlived when seldom-used fifth-year senior Jonathan Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards to the Indiana 5-yard line where he was ruled to have stepped out of bounds despite television replays not showing that clearly.

It didn’t matter, as McSorley took the read option on the first play from scrimmage into the end zone to restore the lead for the Nittany Lions at 26-21 despite Jake Pinegar’s line-drive extra point being blocked.

Penn State’s special teams then came up with another huge play when Jonathan Sutherland put his helmet on the ball on a punt return by Harris at the 32-yard line with the loose ball popping right to Scott, who was laying on the ground, to give Penn State the football at the Indiana 32.

Runs by Miles Sanders, McSorley and Journey Brown moved the ball to the Indiana 4 where McSorley again found paydirt on the ground to give Penn State the 12-point lead.

Penn State’s kick return game also set up the game’s first touchdown when KJ Hamler returned the opening kickoff 58 yards to the Indiana 36-yard line setting up a 1-yard Sanders touchdown run.

Indiana answered right back on its first drive going 75 yards in eight plays tying the game on a 5-yard Scott run.

The Hoosiers then took a 14-7 lead with 1:06 left in the first quarter on a 30-yard Ronnie Walker touchdown run.

Penn State tied the game on some trickery when Tommy Stevens hit Pat Freiermuth from 23 yards out five minutes into the second quarter.

A 27-yard Pinegar field goal with just under 6:30 to play gave Penn State a 17-14 halftime lead, and Pinegar hit another short field goal, this one from 32 yards away, to put the Nittany Lions ahead 20-14 midway through the third quarter.

Indiana retook the lead on the second Scott touchdown that was aided by a pair of 15-yard penalties on Penn State.

The first was a targeting call on Garrett Taylor for a hit to the head of quarterback Michael Penix, who had replaced Ramsey after two series. Penix hurt his knee on the play in which it actually appeared Taylor’s side of the helmet not the crown got Penix’s helmet – which wouldn’t be targeting – but after replay, it was determined it was and Taylor was ejected from the game.

Two plays later, Robert Windsor was whistled for a 15-yard hands-to-the-face personal foul on what would have been an incomplete pass that would have set up a third-and-10.

Sanders added 126 all-purpose yards, catching a team-best six passes for 54 yards and rushing 15 times for 72 yards and a touchdown.

Indiana (4-4) was able to generate 554 yards of total offense, running 100 plays, but the Nittany Lion defense came up with a pair of stops in its own territory inside of two minutes at the end of the first half and another stop after Indiana recovered an onside kick with 49 seconds remaining.

NOTES – McSorley added to his school record with his 26th career 200-yard passing game … The 107 yards rushing by McSorley ranks as the second most of his career and the 10th most by a Penn State quarterback all-time, and gives him a career-best 554 rushing yards this season, which ranks as the second-most by a Penn State quarterback all time (Michael Robinson, 806 yds; 2005). McSorley also became the 11th player in Big Ten history to surpass 10,000 career yards of total offense in as he now has 10,283 career total yards .. Indiana ran 100 plays of offense in the game and had 554 total yards … Yetur Gross-Matos led the Penn State defense with a career-high 10 tackles and two sacks, while Shaka Toney added a career-high four sacks … Penn State returns to action next Saturday when they host Iowa for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff on either ABC or ESPN.

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