Post-game: Indiana 44, Penn State 24:Some Saturday's, the offense doesn't click when it needs to, the defense doesn't hold when it has to, and nothing goes right.
Saturday in Bloomington was one of those days.
Penn State fell to 3-2 Saturday by hardly showing up to its Big Ten opener, as Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw at will, totaling 321 yards and two scores on a day he was 23-for-38 and threw just one interception.
The lions trailed just 13-7 at the half, allowing at least some optimism to abound that Bill O'Brien's Lions' would come around after an early kick in Bloomington. They never did.
The Hoosiers' continued to click with minimal resistance from Penn State's defense racking up 10 points in the third quarter before blowing Penn State's doors off with a 23-point final stanza. Indiana scored on its first two drives of the fourth quarter, one set-up by a Geno Lewis kick-return fumble, and tacked on a safety. The Lions' only score came after it was much too late, as Hackenberg found Belton down the sideline for 14-yard score.
The total yardage numbers - Penn State were over 400 yards of offense and Indiana racked up nearly 500 - are not the way to judge this game. Rather, it was Indiana's run defense, a unit ranked 115th in the country coming into Saturday, holding Penn State to a mere 70 yards on the ground. The Hoosiers' defense as a whole, ranked 106th in the nation, stopped Penn State on 11 of 21 first down attempts, ended the Lions' perfect streak of redzone conversions (they were 2-of-3), and forced the Lions into numerous 3rd-and-long situations, a fact not helped by five Penn State penalties, most of which came at the line of scrimmage.
State returns home next weekend for its Homecoming clash with Michigan.
PREGAME: WR Brandon Felder is in street clothes. PSU reporting it as an ankle injury. ... S/H Ryan Keiser is in street clothes with a heavy wrap on his left hand. … Skies are overcast with occasional rain. …
Ugly does not begin to describe the first quarter of football in Bloomington, where Indiana leads Penn State 7-0 and will have the ball to start the second quarter
Penn State received the opening kick-off, and drove 52 yards on the legs of running back Zach Zwinak and arm of quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Ultimately, that drive would stall when Hackenberg's fourth-and-five pass fell incomplete on Indians's 22. It became a foreshadowing of sorts for the way the rest of the opening stanza would go for the visitors.
Indiana's offensive pace proved to warrant the massive attention it received in the lead-up to the game, as the Hoosiers' scored the lone points of the quarter with a 66-yard, 44 second drive that ended with quarterback Nate Sudfeld found receiver Isaiah Roundtree wide-open for a four-yard touchdown strike.
Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg is 7-of-15 for 68 yards, while Bill Belton has taken six carries for a game-high 26 yards.
It's a tradition unlike any other: Penn State tends to start slow in Noon road kicks, and Saturday in Bloomington, it had been no different.
Penn State got on the board in the second quarter when Hackenberg found receiver Allen Robinson on a slant, which he quickly planted and turned on, for a 46-yard touchdown. That was all the scoring State would do in this quarter, though, as a pair of Mitch Ewald field-goals has Indiana up 13-7 at the half.
Sudfeld is 16-of-25 for 206 yards and a touchdown, and has been the mover of a Hoosiers' offense that has outgained Penn State 244-281. The bulk of it has come through the air, where Indiana holds a 206-155 yards advantage, though State leads in the rushing department by a 63-38 count.
Robinson's catch and run was the lone bright spot in what can only be described as a sluggish performance by the Lions. Hackenberg is 13-of-25 for 155 yards and a score, while Zwinak has carried 11 times for 49 yards. The Lions third down woes continue, as they are just 5-of-11, and also 0-for-2 on fourth-down. State holds the time of possession battles by a 19:56 to 10:04 count.
Indiana will receive the ball to start the second half.
The third quarter was marginally better for Penn State compared to its first-half showing, but State still trails, 21-17, at the end of three.
Robinson hauled in his second touchdown of the game in the stanza, as Hackenberg found him wide-open in the back of the endzone after the cornerback responsible for covering him slipped. It briefly gave Penn State a lead, 14-13, but Indiana running back Tevin Coleman went 44-yard untouched on the Hoosiers' next series for a score, and quarterback Tre Roberson punched in the two-point conversion, to put Indiana back on touch by a touchdown.
State would pull within four later in the quarter on a Sam Ficken 30-yard field goal, but the concern now is whether Robinson is OK after going down hard on an incomplete fade route in the back of the end zone. He left the field for the next play - Hackenberg was sacked on third down - and Penn State has not been on the field offensively since.
Indiana is driving to start the fourth quarter,and will start at the Penn State after tailback D'Angelo Roberts ripped off a 20 yard run two plays after Sudfeld found Coleman for 13-yards keep the chains moving.