Penn State Sweats it Out, But Able to Pull Away for Sixth Straight Win
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - Penn State entered the game as the No. 10 team in the College Football Playoff and were playing the best football of the season. Entering their matchup against the Hoosiers, the Nittany Lions were averaging close to 250 rushing yards a game during the five-game winning streak.
Indiana has had an up and down season, entering the game with a record of 5-4 despite having one of the better quarterbacks in the conference in Richard Lagow. The Hoosiers gave Penn State everything they could handle, but just fell short.
Penn State needed 24 fourth quarter points to win 45-31 over Indiana, behind the arm of Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley’s power in the red zone. McSorley took advantage of a young Indiana secondary, throwing for 332 yards and two touchdowns on only 30 attempts.
He also scored a rushing touchdown in the game, but was hobbled throughout the game. It didn’t help that the offensive line was in a constant state of flux, as starting left tackle Paris Palmer left the game injured and Connor McGovern also left the game due to injury.
The poor offensive line play contributed to the lack of a run game as the Indiana defensive line dominated for most of the contest. Star sophomore running back Saquon Barkley had a career-high 33 carries and two touchdowns, but was only able to muster 60 yards on the ground.
Head coach James Franklin said his team did not change the game plan, even though the offensive line was a bit of a question mark.
“We didn’t panic,” Franklin said. “We just stuck with the plan. These kids believe in themselves, so it’s awesome to see.”
Wide receiver Chris Godwin has established himself as McSorley’s go-to target in the red zone as he caught both touchdown passes today. His first one came after a muffed punt by Indiana and he was wide open in the end zone.
His second touchdown was impressive as Godwin timed his jump perfectly to snag the reception over the smaller Indiana defensive back. The more experienced Penn State pass catchers took advantage of the inexperience Indiana possessed.
A flea flicker early in the fourth quarter was a great example of that as DaeSean Hamilton was able to get by true freshman Marcelino Ball. The Penn State defense also played a huge part in the game, as they forced five Indiana turnovers, including the scoop and score by Torrance Brown to seal the victory.
All the turnovers were fumbles, as the Nittany Lions were able to take advantage of the poor ball security by the Hoosiers. Penn State had their own problems with ball security as McSorley threw two interceptions in the game, snapping a five game streak without an interception.
The Nittany Lions were able to keep Lagow in check as it took him 40 attempts to record 292 yards. The Penn State secondary did look a little confused at times, but they mostly could not do anything about the great throws Lagow made.
Penn State improved their record to 8-2 on the season and take on struggling Rutgers on the road next week.
Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email email@example.com.