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IU, Penn State football rely on depth with Philyor, Hamler injured


Junior wide receiver Whop Philyor gets tackled by Penn State junior safety Lamont Wade on Nov. 16 at Beaver Stadium. Philyor was tackled in the second quarter against Penn State. Alex Deryn

No. 9 Penn State edged out No. 24 IU football 34-27 on Saturday in College Park, Pennsylvania in a competitive, back-and-forth battle with postseason implications on the line. Each team’s most dynamic playmakers, however, left the game with injuries before halftime.

IU junior receiver Whop Philyor and PSU sophomore receiver KJ Hamler each tallied two catches for 50 and 52 yards, respectively, before they spent the rest of the game on the sideline. 

After the Nittany Lions ran a 3-and-out on the first offensive series of the afternoon, Philyor muffed the proceeding punt and fumbled away possession before Penn State scored its first touchdown. 

Then with IU trailing 17-14 in the second quarter after recovering a fumble of its own, Philyor lost the ball again as he passed the first down marker and drew a tough hit to the head that forced him out of the game.

Hamler’s two-catch, 52-yard effort somehow finished as the team’s best statistical receiving performance Saturday. Just three other Nittany Lion receivers hauled in two catches. Instead, sophomore running back Journey Brown led the way for Penn State in the win.

The Hoosiers relied on a number of different weapons on offense to replace Philyor’s production as a means of staying in the game. 

None stand out more than junior receiver Ty Fryfogle, who finished with 131 yards on five catches. 

The junior also scored IU’s first touchdown of the day from 38 yards out on a play-action call from offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer. Ramsey fooled Penn State by looking for a screen on the right as Fryfogle ran through the heart of the defense before catching the ball in stride.

Sophomore tight end Peyton Hendershot and freshman receiver David Ellis each had seven receptions, both of which are career highs. Ellis, a usual return man who had just five catches before Saturday, blew past his coverage and drew a lot of targets down the stretch.

Aided by poor clock management and an 18-play, go-ahead touchdown drive from Penn State, IU had to come back from down ten points with less than two minutes left and no timeouts. 

Fryfogle beat his coverage one more time, streaking down the sideline to set up a field goal from fifth-year kicker Logan Justus, but IU couldn’t recover the impending onside kick as Penn State ran out the clock.

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