FINAL: Penn St. 45, Indiana 22
Through winning and losing streaks, the Hoosiers came into Penn State Saturday afternoon after losing by their largest margin of the season one week prior.
Saturday’s game was no exception to the rule of streaks, as the Hoosiers (4-7, 2-5) ended the day with their second straight loss, a 45-22 defeat at the hands of the Nittany Lions (7-4, 5-2) at Beaver Stadium.
“I thought for the most part we tried to compete and battle,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said. “I didn’t like the end of the first half for sure, but we got back in it for a while. Give credit to (Penn State Coach) Bill O’Brien and Penn State’s defense. We left points on the board today."
Trailing at the end of the first quarter 7-0, the Hoosiers scored 10 unanswered points within the span of one minute and 24 seconds early in the second quarter.
Junior kicker Mitch Ewald's field goal followed by junior cornerback Antonio Marshall's interception on the following drive gave IU the ball down by four. Junior tight end Ted Bolser's ensuing touchdown reception from sophomore quarterback Cameron Coffman gave a lead in front of a crowd of 90,358.
However, less than five minutes later, Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin passed to wide receiver Allen Robinson for a 53-yard touchdown with the Hoosiers missing multiple tackles.
By halftime, Penn State had taken a 28-13 lead. On only 12 completions, McGloin had 218 passing yards and four touchdowns, three of them to Robinson.
“We shot ourselves in the foot with a couple of things,” junior wide receiver Kofi Hughes said. “The defense was trying to do their thing, but as a team we couldn’t capitalize on things.”
When the third quarter started, a glimmer of hope emerged for the Hoosiers. After a three-and-out from Penn State, junior running back Stephen Houston took a screen pass from Coffman for a 79-yard touchdown.
Ewald missed the ensuing extra point – the first PAT miss of his career – but on the following kickoff, he recovered his own onside attempt. Despite IU missing a 55-yard field goal the next drive, the Hoosiers recovered a Penn State fumble and converted a 46-yard field goal attempt with 8:34 remaining in the third quarter.
As the deficit was cut to six points and the score 28-22, the Hoosiers were suddenly in the game once again.
“It was nuts actually, it all happened really fast for me,” Ewald said. “After it was all done and I was off the field for a little bit, I was like ‘Wow, I just kicked two field goals, an onside kick and extra point in all of three minutes.’ And we were back in the game, too.”
The following drive, spanning 75 yards over nine plays and 3:01 on the clock, ended in a Penn State touchdown on a one-yard run from running back Zach Zwinak.
The Hoosiers did not score again the entire game, with a Michael Zordich run and Sam Ficken field goal adding to the final margin.
The Hoosiers allowed 546 yards of total offense Saturday afternoon. McGloin finished the game with 22 completions on 32 attempts with 395 passing yards and four touchdowns. Robinson had 197 receiving yards on 10 attempts.
“We aren’t at a point right now where we can play shutdown defense,” Wilson said. “We’ve got to find ways of getting better, though, as we move forward. That’s two weeks in a row now with missed chances.”
With the loss, the Hoosiers’ hopes for a bowl game and postseason have been officially dashed. Coffman’s 454 passing yards, the second most in a game in school history, came in vain.
What is left is the year’s final game – a matchup with rival Purdue for a chance at winning the Old Oaken Bucket.
“It hurts,” senior defensive tackle Adam Replogle said. “But at the end of the day, I have to be over it and be ready to play Purdue.”
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