Final score: #9 Penn State 34 Indiana 24
Brief recap: Life wasn’t easy for Penn State on Saturday afternoon, despite playing in the comfort of its own home. After a 31-26 loss to Minnesota last weekend, the Nittany Lions were hoping to bounce back against Indiana before a colossal showdown with Ohio State in Columbus next week. But Indiana made Penn State earn it. The two teams traded punches throughout the first half, with Indiana taking a 14-10 lead late in the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Peyton Ramsey. Not longer after, the Nittany Lions recaptured the advantage on a 38-yard scramble by Sean Clifford, giving PSU a 17-14 lead. Penn State never relinquished the lead. Penn State took as much as a 13-point lead in the second half, ahead 27-14 on a 35-yard touchdown run from Journey Brown in the third quarter. Indiana had its chances at the end, getting to 27-24, but Penn State scored on an 18-play, 75-yard drive that took more than 8 minutes off the clock to ice the game.
Key moment: So many big moments, but Penn State’s ability to keep the offense on the field for an 18-play drive and cap it off with a touchdown run on fourth down was the icing on the cake in this one. If the Nittany Lions settle for a field goal or don’t get into the end zone, Indiana would’ve had a chance to tie or win the game at the end.
Key stat: Penn State committed just one penalty for zero yards in the game. That ended up being a huge difference in the game. You can point to a lot of different things in this one, but there’s no doubt the Nittany Lions’ ability to play a clean game was a big factor in this one.
Key player: Sean Clifford completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes, but he still threw for 179 yards and a touchdown and added 55 yards and two scores on 10 carries on the ground. When Penn State needed a big play, he made it.
What it means for Indiana: The Hoosiers continue to fight against the elite teams in the B1G East, but still can’t quite get over the hump. Indiana had its chances, and was able to pick apart the Penn State secondary with its strong passing attack, but it just didn’t make enough plays to get a win over a highly-ranked team. Indiana will get one more shot at one of the big boys, hosting Michigan next Saturday.
What it means for Penn State: Lights, camera, action. With Penn State’s victory over Indiana, the stage is set for next week’s showdown against Ohio State in Columbus. The winner takes the B1G East and gets a shot at a conference championship in Indianapolis in a few weeks. Penn State’s defense needs to play much better to have a shot, but the Nittany Lions still have everything in front of them.