IU sophomore quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was unanimously voted a team captain by his teammates before the start of the season. And in the team's season opener against No. 8 Penn State, he wasn’t going to let them down.
Rather than kicking an extra point after Penix connected with senior wide receiver Whop Philyor for a nine-yard touchdown in overtime, the Hoosiers decided to keep their offense on the field and go for the win. On the final play of the game, Penix kept the ball himself, dashed to his left and dove toward the pylon for a two-point conversion to win the game.
IU’s 36-35 victory over No. 8 Penn State marks the program’s first over a top-10 opponent in Bloomington since Nov. 25, 1967, against No. 3 Purdue and first since its victory against No. 9 Ohio State in 1987.
“One play to win it, and we’ve been close, and I’m sick and tired of being close,” IU head coach Tom Allen said after the game.
Even though the offense showed up at the end of the game, it was the defense that kept the team close. Through three quarters, Penix had only completed seven of his 14 passes for 60 yards and an interception.
The Hoosiers accounted for just 100 yards compared to the Nittany Lions’ 324 before the start of the fourth quarter. But three first-half takeaways allows the team to sneak into the locker room with a 17-7 halftime lead. Junior running back Stevie Scott III rushed for 46 yards and two touchdowns in the second quarter.
“It was just us recuperating at the end of the third quarter and just telling each other to finish strong and keep playing our game, keep a positive mindset and finish off our plays,” Scott said. “We knew that we could make plays at any given moment. As long as we just stuck together as a team, didn’t let anything get us down at the time or the moment, we’ll be good.”
Before overtime, IU trailed 28-20 with 1:42 left in the fourth quarter.
With one final drive, Penix orchestrated a seven-play, 75-yard drive and scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak. He would also score with his legs on the following two-point conversion attempt to tie the game with 22 seconds left.
In the fourth quarter and overtime, Penix completed 12 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown, leading IU to its first win over a ranked opponent during Allen’s tenure.
“We didn’t really finish how we wanted to the last few years, and that’s something we’ve been stressing all camp, all summer long,” Penix said. “We’ve been waiting for this opportunity. The guys made plays whenever they needed to be made, so that’s one thing we did today, we made sure we finished.”