Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
We are under 60 days until kickoff and what better way to celebrate than reliving the Hoosiers' best win of the Kevin Wilson Era when they beat up on the Nittany Lions 44-24. Although Indiana could not build a winning streak off this game, it was still a great sign for the program.
The Hoosiers’ 0-16 record against Penn State was talked about a lot this week, why it was talked about so much this year as opposed to others? Probably because this was the best shot for a win for Indiana in this series, and boy it felt good to see that streak bite the dust. While a Hoosier win would not be a total shock, the fact that IU controlled this game for all but two minutes and won by 20 was a complete surprise.
Opponent: Penn State Nittany Lions
Location: Saturday October 5th /12pm/ Memorial Stadium/ (Bloomington, Indiana)
Why They Played: The Hoosiers and Nittany Lions meet yearly in a Leaders Division match-up. This is the 17th all-time match-up between the two squads and Indiana is 0-16 against the men from Happy Valley.
What The Game Meant:
Penn State marked to end of the Hoosiers’ five game home stand to open the season and Indiana had a shot to go 3-2 in those five games and bolster their bowl hopes that would be all but extinguished with a loss. Also on the line was Indiana’s 0-16 record against Penn State. Indiana needs to beat one of the “Blue-Bloods” of the Big Ten and they finally did with a huge program win over Penn State.
Top Offensive Performers:
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana – The Hoosier receiver had another career game hauling in nine passes for 140 yards. Even though Latimer did not get into the end zone, he made some great catches that kept drives alive. He even recovered a fumble as part of the kick-off team. The junior did everything but score a touchdown for the Hoosiers.
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State- This guy will definitely be playing on Sundays in the near future. Robinson continued his domination of the Hoosiers with 173 yards receiving and two scores, even though Tim Bennett did a fantastic job covering him.
Top Defensive Performers
Indiana- This was a whole team effort. Tim Bennett stood out in the secondary with four pass break-ups including two that could have gone for six. The defensive line allowed only 70 yards rushing and pressured the freshman Hackenberg into poor throws. The linebacking corps of Cooper, Hardin, Simmons, and Oliver were a force accounting for 30 tackles.
Penn State- There were some decent performers but anytime a Penn State defense gives up 42 points and 150 yards rushing to Indiana they could not have looked good. Depth and the speed of the IU offense looked like it ran this defense into the ground.
Special Team Performance:
Finally Mitch Ewald has kicked another field goal, his first since opening night. The special teams played a big role in this game. In a game where Penn State basically imploded on special teams with a poor snap and a blocked field goal costing them a potential six points and a huge fumble on a kickoff that essentially sealed the game for the Hoosiers, Indiana was the sharper team. Depth continued to cost the Nittany Lions as their walk-on long snapper was awful. He was clearly affected by the wet weather, as there were at least three bad snaps, two on field goals and a high snap on a punt. Erich Toth was inconsistent again averaging 41.5 yards on six punts. He was not as bad as he was against Missouri, but he benefits from the home roll. Overall, this was probably the best the Hoosiers have played on special teams on the year.
This is the average per carry for Penn State on the day. Even though that includes a 31-yard loss on a poor snap on a field goal this is still extremely impressive. The Hoosiers made Penn State one dimensional as Hackenberg through the ball 55 times.
Tevin Coleman’s 44- yard touchdown run that put the Hoosiers up for good 21-17 showed that this was not a regular Indiana game where the team opens up a lead then gives it up and never recovers. After this score the Hoosiers never looked back.
I Knew it was over when…
Tre Roberson ran in for a nine-yard touchdown to make the score 42-17 after Penn State fumbled the ball on the kick-off.
Players of the Game
Indiana– Defense- The entire defense should be the player of the game for Indiana. Yes, the offense put up some great numbers, but the defense won this game for IU. They took Penn State out of their game plan. Early on the defense bent but didn’t break and gave the offense a chance to build a huge lead.
Penn State- Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver- He’s the real deal, no doubt about it, but his great effort was not enough for the Nittany Lions.
What I took away from the game
To be honest I was shocked at the final score. This was not your typical Indiana game against a Big Ten team. Yes, there were some fluky plays that turned the tide in favor for the Hoosiers, but Indiana looked like the better team. The defense did not look lost and the offense just ate up this Penn State D. Even though this is not a great Penn State team, this was a great win for the program Kevin Wilson is trying to build. It is a brand name and history was made on Saturday. The two-quarterback system worked nicely and finally looks like there is a plan for both QBs. Even though Sudfeld made some great throws he needs to clean it up a bit. There were several passes that should have been picked off. Overall, this was a great win. Now the Hoosiers need to build on it. Starting their first winning streak of the season will be difficult as their next two games are on the road against Michigan State and Michigan.