Indiana football welcomed Penn State to Bloomington Saturday afternoon and were taken to task by a score of 45-14. The Nittany Lions came to Memorial Stadium off a debilitating loss to second-ranked Ohio State last week, where the team gave up a fourth-quarter lead. The loss spurred rumors that Penn State freshman quarterback Drew Allar might replace the veteran senior quarterback Sean Clifford at the helm.
As for the Hoosiers, head coach Tom Allen kept his decision about the starting quarterback quiet until kickoff. It became clear junior Connor Bazelak wouldn’t play due to injury and redshirt senior Jack Tuttle would get the nod before the game started.
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In the first quarter, Indiana appeared to be playing some of its best offensive football of the year with Tuttle orchestrating a response to Penn State’s first score. Although Indiana scored on the drive, it provided insight into the inevitable result that ensued.
Keeping with a major trend of the season thus far, the Hoosier offensive line struggled to keep the Nittany Lions’ pass rush off the quarterback as Tuttle was escaping pressure for positive yards often. Penn State finished the game with six sacks.
The score was 21-7 in favor of Penn State when Tuttle was sacked and left the game with an apparent lower-body injury. In an unexpected turn of events, Allen decided to turn to freshman quarterback Brendan Sorsby in relief. After a couple lackluster drives, Indiana switched to redshirt sophomore Dexter Williams to lead the offense.
Williams provided an extra element to the attack with his speed and vision as a runner on top of his passing ability. While he ended the game 4-11 for 41 yards and two interceptions, the stats do not tell the whole story, and Allen said he liked what he saw from Williams.
His first interception was a pass that was tipped into the air, and his second occurred when he was hit hard in the pocket. Williams successfully led a drive down the field for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, only the second time Indiana was able to score.
After the game, Allen spoke on the current outlook at quarterback.
“Dexter and Brendan are very equal,” Allen said. “We think they are both a very big part of our future.”
All indications point to Bazelak returning in the game against Ohio State next weekend, but if for some reason he cannot play, Indiana has a group of back-ups ready to step in.
As for Penn State, the Nittany Lions’ decision to start Clifford paid off. Although much of the attack came on the ground with the freshman running back tandem of Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton, Clifford effectively got the Nittany Lions out to a lead.
Allen finished the game with 18 carries for 86 yards and three touchdowns, leading the charge. His backfield mate Singleton also had an impressive outing racking up 73 yards and one touchdown on 16 attempts.
It was a brand of smash mouth football that earned Penn State a 31-7 lead entering the fourth quarter. Then, with the game in hand, coach James Franklin handed the reigns to Allar who finished the game. Allar threw for 75 yards and two scores on just 12 attempts to extend the lead to 45-14.
With a matchup against Ohio State up next, Indiana will face another high-powered offense. The Hoosiers drop to 3-6 on the season and things do not look bright for the program.