Same Old Story In Hoosiers' 34-7 Loss

In an outcome that was reminiscent of some recent IU setbacks, the Hoosiers hung close early against Penn State, but the Nittany Lions blew Indiana away late. The Hoosiers finished with only 180 yards of total offense and fell to Penn State, 34-7....

Indiana football has turned into a season of re-runs.

The Hoosiers hang tough for the first half against a quality Big Ten opponent, their quarterback suffers an injury moments before halftime, and the floodgates open in the second half.

Haven't we seen this episode before?

It happened in home games to Iowa and Wisconsin, when injuries to Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell, respectively, contributed to IU being outscored 59-0 in the second halves of those contests on their way to blowout losses. It happened again Saturday afternoon against No. 8 Penn State, as the Nittany Lions turned a 10-7 nail-biter into a 34-7 laugher at Beaver Stadium.

Lewis returned in the second half despite re-aggravating his ankle injury on IU's next-to-last offensive play of the first half, but was clearly limited. As a result, Indiana's offense managed only 36 yards and one first down in the second half and was shut out in the game's final 30 minutes for the fourth time in seven Big Ten games.

Lewis finished just 9-of-21 passing for 57 yards and was sacked twice, while Thigpen added 72 yards on eight carries. As a team, the Hoosiers were limited to a season-low 180 yards of total offense.

"We couldn't get anything going offensively in the second half," Lynch said. "We couldn't get any continuity on offense. We had to get something going in the third quarter on offense."

With the win Penn State (10-1/6-1) heads into next week's match-up against Michigan State in need of a win to secure at least a share of the Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl berth. Indiana, meanwhile, goes on the road to face Purdue. The Hoosiers will be trying to recapture the Old Oaken Bucket and to avoid finishing last in the Big Ten.

The end result of Saturday's game at Penn State came as no surprise, considering the Lions entered the game as five touchdown favorites. But a spirited first-half Indiana effort kept the game close for the first 30 minutes. Marcus Thigpen took an inside hand-off and bounced outside for a 57-yard touchdown for IU's score, and the Hoosier defense came up with a couple of big plays to keep the contest close early.

The first came immediately after Lewis was picked off by Mark Rubin at IU's six-yard line late in the first quarter. On the ensuing play, Jammie Kirlew stripped PSU quarterback Darryl Clark at the two-yard line and Greg Middleton recovered to thwart the drive.

The tackle was one of 11 stops on the day for Kirlew, who continues to have a huge season despite Indiana's struggles.

"He's had a tremendous year," Lynch said. He brings so much energy and effort."

The second big defensive stop came in the closing seconds of the first half following Lewis' ankle injury. After Penn State blocked a Chris Hagerup punt and recovered at the IU 20-yard line with less than a minute left, the Hoosier defense limited Penn State to a 32-yard field goal by Kevin Kelly to put PSU up only 10-7 at intermission.

But as has been the case for much of the season, the second half was a different story. Indiana went three-and-out on three of its four third quarter drives, while Penn State countered with a pair of touchdowns and a field goal to extend the margin to 27-7 on the end of three quarters. Evan Royster capped the Lions opening drive of the second half with 19-yard touchdown run, and Clark hooked up on a 6-yard scoring strike to Deon Butler late in the quarter to extend the lead to 20. That touchdown drive was set up on another botched punt, when Hagerup was stopped for a one-yard loss when he ran with the fall when faced with pressure.

Indiana's defense did come up with a couple of second half turnovers courtesy of a Brandon Mosley interception and a Ryan Marando strip of Clark, but the Hoosier offense was unable to turn either of those opportunities into points.

The final dagger was delivered by Nittany Lion wideout Derrick Williams, who raced 36 yards for a touchdown on an end around to put Penn State up 34-7.

Williams finished with 61 yards rushing and 62 yards receiving and scored twice. Clark, meanwhile, shook off three turnovers to complete 20-of-36 throws for 240 yards.


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