Rapid Reaction: Indiana stuns Penn State on Penix's diving 2-point conversion in overtime
Make no bones about it. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t great. As a matter of fact, some of it was awful. But Indiana took advantage of enough Penn State mistakes to find a way to win, 36-35 in single overtime.
Sean Cliffford hit Parker Washington for a TD on the first drive of overtime, then IU’s Michael Penix Jr. hit Whop Philyor for the eqaulizer. Indiana went for 2 and the win, and Penix ran, dove and extended the ball toward the pylon. After review, the play stood and Indiana won.
The Nittany Lions mostly got in their own way after a dominant game-opening drive, then really made a mess of things late in regulation.
The Nittany Lions overcame a pair of first-half interceptions and multiple special teams mishaps to eventually take a 28-20 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Penn State looked like a well oiled machine on its first possession, storming down the field on a 64-yard drive to open the game with a touchdown. But then Penn State QB Sean Clifford threw 2 awful interceptions that led to 10 Hoosiers points. Last season it took the junior 184 passes to throw his first 2 interceptions. In 2020 he needed just 14.
The Nittany Lions offense was ineffective for much of the first half, especially after losing running back Noah Cain to injury on the first drive. Already down starter Journey Brown, Penn State had to turn to freshmen Devyn Ford and Keyvone Lee to carry the load.
Following five straight drives without any points, Penn State appeared to have momentum going into the half when Indiana’s Stevie Scott fumbled while the Hoosiers were trying to kill the clock with 2 seconds remaining, deep in their own territory. Jake Pinegar missed the ensuing 25-yard field goal, however, deflating any energy the Lions had been building.
Pinegar again missed a long field goal try on Penn State’s opening drive of the second half. The miss punctuated a 16-play, 54-yard drive that ate 7:34, which was much of the story all game for Kirk Ciarrocca’s offense. Penn State dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for more than 40 minutes of regulation time, but too frequently failed to convert the control into points.
While Clifford struggled from the outset to get his passing going, he was Penn State’s best run threat, finishing with a team-high 119 yards on 17 carries. His 35-yard rush in the third quarter was the longest rush of the day for Penn State.
His passing eventually heated up, most notably late in the 4th quarter when Clifford hit a wide-open Jahan Dotson for 60 yards and the go-ahead score.
The Penn State defense, with first-time starter Joey Porter Jr. standing out, kept the Lions in the game, allowing the offense to eventually rally.
Devyn Ford extended Penn State’s anxiety when he scored the game’s penultimate touchdown rather than go down so Penn State could run out the clock. Indiana moved ball to the Penn State 1-yard line with 27 seconds left. Then Penix, who made a couple big-time throws on the drive, plunged across the goal line. After a 2-point conversion, the game was tied 28-28.
But Indiana returned the poor-decision favor when a squib kickoff malfunctioned to set up Penn State for a long field-goal try. Jordan Stout missed just short from 57 yards, and the game went to overtime.