Senior defensive back Raheem Layne did everything right during his first-quarter interception. After reading the eyes of Penn State senior quarterback Sean Clifford, he stepped in front of sophomore wide receiver Parker Washington and the ball found his gloves.
Indiana’s defense made plays throughout the night, but its offense couldn’t return the favor in a 24-0 loss to Penn State on Saturday night in State College, Pennsylvania.
Layne granted Indiana’s offense an opportunity, but it produced two consecutive plays without a gain, Michael Penix Jr. for a 9-yard gain and a rushing attempt by graduate student running back Stephen Carr on an ill-fated fourth-down try.
“Our defense played extremely hard,” head coach Tom Allen said in a postgame press conference. “Kept battling, battling, battling, but didn’t get a lot of support and they were on the field too much.”
Facing a crowd so energized it shook ABC broadcast cameras, the Hoosiers’ offense produced 264 yards. Penn State’s offense controlled the time of possession with just over 31 minutes to Indiana’s 22 and a half.
The two offenses traded punts to open the game. The Nittany Lions found the end zone on their second possession, threw an interception on their third and scored again with their fourth.
Indiana went scoreless during the first half, with Carr’s failed fourth-down run being its only red zone appearance — an opportunity its defense gifted to it in the first place.
Penix went down with a left shoulder injury in the third quarter after being tackled by junior linebacker Brandon Smith butleft for the locker room under his own power. Allen said the injury was definitely Penix’s shoulder, and the team will continue to evaluate the quarterback and run tests Sunday.
Junior backup quarterback Jack Tuttle, who started two games last year, entered the game only to be sacked immediately by senior defensive end Arnold Ebiketie. Afterward, Tuttle completed three consecutive passes for 58 yards before Indiana’s drive stalled in the red zone.
Tuttle’s final pass of the game was a deep shot intended for junior wide receiver Jacolby Hewitt. The pass sailed awry and ended up in the hands of Penn State senior defensive back Ji’Ayir Brown for an interception.
“I thought Jack gave us a little spark,” Allen said. “I thought that he did a lot of good things, I don’t know about that last throw, it was a little bit of miscommunication.
The Hoosiers left Happy Valley scoreless, the first time they’d been shut out since Oct. 14, 2000. Indiana has yet to score a touchdown against a Power Five team this season.
Indiana will have a one-week break with a bye week before its Oct. 16 Homecoming matchup against Michigan State.
“I think guys need to take a look at themselves in the mirror decide what’s gonna come of this,” senior linebacker Micah McFadden said. “The Hoosiers are 2-3, how are we gonna respond?”