Game Grades: Penn State vs. Indiana

posted October 4, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Logan Bourandas

Everything went the way of the No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday as they picked up a shutout win over the Indiana Hoosiers 24-0. The Nittany Lions were able to avenge their opening game loss from last season in overtime against that same Hoosiers squad.

As the blue and white move to 5-0 on the year, let’s take a look at how each side of the ball did in Saturday’s stripe out.

Offense: B+

The rushing attack found a rhythm early on as the Nittany Lions picked up over 100 yards on the ground in the first half alone. No running back had more than 11 carries as head coach James Franklin kept things the way they’ve been all season operating a by committee system at the position.

Sean Clifford played well throwing for three touchdowns but threw one interception on a bad read which set the Hoosiers’ offense in the red zone early in the game.

Offensively, the Nittany Lions got complacent for a majority of the second half as drives stalled out early leading to many Jordan Stout punts.

Jahan Dotson continues to be one of the best receivers in the country which is a good sign for the Nittany Lions and 24 points on the offensive side of the ball is a good day's work for any football team.

Defense: A+

This feels self-explanatory.

Defensively, the Nittany Lions put up one of their best performances not only on the season but in recent memory.

Not only did the defense pitch a shutout during the game but they made things extremely uncomfortable all night for quarterbacks Michael Penix Jr. and Jack Tuttle.

Penix Jr. started the game out for the Hoosiers and struggled to even complete his passes as he started the game 1/10 through the air. Both Penix Jr. and Tuttle threw an interception with Joey Porter Jr. collecting his first of his career and Ji’Ayir Brown picking up his third on the season.

Running back Stephen Carr was unable to gain momentum just a week after recording over 100 yards and two touchdowns against Western Kentucky. Carr only ran for 50 yards and averaged 3.3 yards per carry on Saturday as the Hoosiers only picked up 69 yards on the ground overall.

Between the red zone stands and the field goal block, everything that could go right went right as the Penn State defense continued to shine.

Coaching: A-

Can’t be mad about too much after a big-time win at home.

Head coach James Franklin kept his team focused after trying to avoid hyping this game up as a revenge game.

One interesting thing to note is how Franklin utilized his running backs.

Keyvone Lee led the team with 74 yards on the ground but did so on only eight carries, that total ranks fourth of Penn State runners on Saturday. Lee was able to break out a 44-yard rush during the first half but Franklin continued his by-committee approach instead of continuing to use him as the primary option.

Instead didn’t see much more of Lee until we got into the second half when Franklin decided to use him on fourth-and-one at the one-yard line where the Hoosiers defense stood strong.

There were only minor issues for a coaching staff that coached a strong game in what was arguably the best all-around game the Nittany Lions have played all season.

Logan Bourandas is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.