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No. 9 Penn State Bounces Back In 34-27 Victory Over Indiana

No. 9 Penn State football (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) snuck by Indiana (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten) 34-27 at Beaver Stadium Saturday.

The Hoosiers stuck around throughout the game and only trailed Penn State by three points with about ten minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Sean Clifford then led the offense on an impressive 18-play, 9:01 drive that he capped off with a one-yard touchdown rush to effectively end the game.

Journey Brown was key for Ricky Rahne’s offense as he finished the day with 100 yards on the ground, while Clifford threw for 179 yards and had three total touchdowns on the day.

How It Happened

Penn State received the opening kick off and went three-and-out as it failed to pick up any positive yardage. The Nittany Lions got a spark, however, when Indiana punt returner Whop Philyor muffed Blake Gillikin’s punt and Jan Johnson recovered it.

Sean Clifford and Co. took over at Indiana’s own 27-yard line and took just five plays to score on a 12-yard touchdown reception from Nick Bowers. Penn State took an early 7-0 lead with 12:04 remaining in the first quarter.

Indiana responded quickly with a 75-yard drive of its own which was capped off by a 38-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Ty Fryfogle. Peyton Ramsey found the receiver wide open for an easy score, and the Hoosiers tied the game 7-7.

A 41-yard reception by KJ Hamler helped the Nittany Lions drive back down the field on their next possession, but they were unable to punch it into the end zone. Jake Pinegar hit a 47-yard field goal to give Penn State a 10-7 lead with 6:22 left in the first.

Ramsey led the Hoosiers on another impressive drive and finished it off with a one-yard keeper for a score. Indiana took a 14-10 lead late in the first.

The Nittany Lions responded quickly as Clifford showed off his legs on the ensuing drive. The quarterback took a 38-yard scamper to the house and the Nittany Lions took a 17-14 lead.

Ricky Rahne’s offense stayed hot to open the second quarter. Big runs from Clifford and Devyn Ford helped the Nittany Lions drive into Indiana territory, but the quarterback was stripped in the backfield and the drive was killed.

Marquis Wilson picked up his teammate, though, as he forced and recovered a fumble on a screen pass. The Nittany Lions took over at Indiana’s own 38-yard line, but they failed to pick up a first down off the turnover. Penn State bounced back on its next possession with a solid nine-play, 50-yard drive that Pinegar finished off with a 27-yard field goal. The Nittany Lions took a 20-14 lead with 3:03 remaining in the first half.

Penn State’s defense stuffed the Hoosiers on their next possession, and the Nittany Lions kneeled out the final seconds of the first half.

Indiana attempted a fake punt on its opening drive of the second half, but the Nittany Lions stuffed it easily. Clifford and Co. took over at the Hoosiers’ own 40-yard line and immediately capitalized with a 35-yard rushing touchdown by Journey Brown. Penn State took a 27-14 lead with 10:24 left in the third quarter.

The Hoosiers drove all the way down to Penn State’s own seven on their next possession, but couldn’t punch it in for a touchdown. They hit the 25-yard field goal to shorten Penn State’s lead to 27-17.

Indiana’s offense stayed hot on its next possession. Ramsey orchestrated an 11-play, 91-yard drive that he capped off with another QB sneak for a touchdown. The Hoosiers trailed 27-24 with 10:45 remaining in the game.

Clifford then led the Nittany Lions on a massive, 18-play, 9:01 drive that iced the game. The quarterback capped it off with a one-yard rushing touchdown that gave Penn State a 34-24 lead with just 1:44 remaining in the game.

The Hoosiers hit a 27-yard field goal on their next drive, but they failed to recover the onside kick attempt. Penn State’s 34-27 victory was sealed after that.

Takeaways

  • Journey Brown is starting to get into a groove as Penn State’s feature back. The redshirt sophomore led the Nittany Lions with 100 rushing yards on 21 carries and a touchdown to boot. This is his second-consecutive 100+ yardage day on the ground and the third game in a row that he’s led the Nittany Lions in rushing.
  • KJ Hamler left Saturday’s contest in the first quarter and never returned. The redshirt sophomore has obviously been a favorite target of Sean Clifford’s, as he leads Penn State with 739 receiving yards on the season, but the quarterback will need to start to rely on other pass-catchers soon if the injury proves to be serious.
  • James Franklin’s kryptonite as Penn State’s head coach has been putting teams away in the fourth quarter — he executed this beautifully today. The Nittany Lions marched down the field in a 9:01 drive and used up every bit of time possible, as they didn’t score until 4th down on Indiana’s goal line with less than two minutes remaining.

What’s Next

Penn State will travel to Columbus next weekend for its biggest test of the season against No. 2 Ohio State. The game will kick off at 12 p.m. and be broadcast on FOX.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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