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Hoosiers stun Penn State on controversial play in OT for historic victory

Photo by Penn State

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — In a game fitting to be part of this ridiculous year of 2020, Indiana beat Penn State in a ridiculously bizarre game Saturday night.

The Hoosiers won in overtime, 36-35, on a controversial 2-point conversion against No. 8 PSU. It was Indiana’s first win over a top 10 team in 33 years, since 1987.

Penn State scored a TD on the first possession of OT, as Sean Clifford connected with freshman Parker Washington, who made a sliding grab.

Indiana followed with a touchdown of its own, on a pass from Michael Penix Jr. to Whop Philyor, then faced the question of whether or not to go for two and try to win it.

Hoosiers coach Tom Allen did just that.

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. scrambled to his left and dove for the end zone as he was being tackled by safety Jaqun Brisker.

Penix stretched the ball out toward the pylon on an extremely close play. The ruling on the field was that the ball did hit the pylon for a TD.

A lengthy review followed. It appeared from some angles that the ball had hit the ball in the white out of bounds before touching the pylon. If that had been the ruling, Penn State would have won.

But the officials ruled that the ball did touch the pylon first, giving the Hoosiers the victory.

 

 

It’s a sensational win for an Indiana program that has made huge strides in recent years. The Hoosiers were just 1-22 all-time against Penn State prior to Saturday.

For the Lions, it’s a crushing loss to start a season in which they had hopes for a run at the College Football Playoff.

Penn State played poorly in the first half, with QB Sean Clifford throwing two interceptions that helped Indiana take a 17-7 lead.

But Clifford regrouped in the second half and led PSU back with his arm and legs. He finished with 119 yards rushing, plus 24-of-35 passing for 238 yards and three TDs.

Here’s the scoring summary of the game, including a very strange situation where Indiana let Penn State score a touchdown with 1:22 in order to get the ball back. PSU scored, the Hoosiers did get the ball back and drove the field for a TD and tied the game with a 2-point conversion.

Update: 7:15 p.m.

Penn State 28, Indiana 28

Sure enough, after letting PSU score to get the ball back, the Hoosiers moved right down the field and tied the game in the closing seconds to force overtime.

Michael Penix Jr. scored from a yard out on a QB sneak with 22 seconds to go. Indiana then went for two, and Penix fought his way through a tackle and into the end zone to pull the game even.

Indiana, for some crazy reason, tried an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. Penn State recovered at the Indiana 49 and then got 9 yards to the 40.

Jordan Stout came on for a 57-yard field goal try for the win, and he missed it just short and right. Stout set the PSU record last year with a 57-yard field goal against Pitt.

Update: 7:02 p.m.

Penn State 28, Indiana 20

Indiana went three and out deep in its own territory, with Shaka Toney getting two sacks. The Hoosiers then let Devyn Ford score untouched from 14 yards out with 1:42 left to make sure they would get the ball back.

Ford should have dropped down at some point before getting to the end zone, giving the Lions a chance to run out the clock since Indiana had only one timeout left.

Update: 6:55 p.m.

Penn State 21, Indiana 20

Sean Clifford delivered when he had to, tossing a 60-yard TD pass to Jahan Dotson to give PSU the lead with 2:30 to go.

Update: 6:28 p.m.

Indiana 20, Penn State 14

The Hoosiers added three poins on a 48-yard field goal by Charles Campbell with 13:18 left to play.

The Hoosiers got a 13-yard pass play, plus 15 more yards on a huge targeting penalty by linebacker Jesse Luketa. The play not only moved Indiana into scoring position, it meant Luketa was ejected for the rest of the game, and he’ll have to miss the first half next week against Ohio State.

Update: 6:17 p.m.

Indiana 17, Penn State 14

Clifford scrambled for a 35-yard TD to get the Lions right back in it as time expired in the third quarter.

Clifford broke loose up the middle on second-and-17, cut back to his left and finished off the nice run to pull the Lions within three. At this point, Clifford has 82 yards rushing on 10 carries.

This was a good observation on the TD run.

Update: 6:08 p.m.

Penn State trailed 17-7 after a long drive produced no points. The Lions got down deep into Indiana territory, but a 15-yard offensive pass interference penalty on Pat Freiermuth moved PSU back to the 30.

Jake Pinegar missed a 47-yard field goal that would have made it 17-10.

However, Penn State got the ball right back when Lamont Wade picked off Michael Penix Jr. to set up another offensive series.

Update: 5:27 p.m.

Another good tweet from Matt McGloin.

Update: 5:15 p.m.

Penn State played about as sloppy of a first half as it gets and trails Indiana, 17-7.

Sean Clifford threw two bad interceptions, both setting up Hoosier touchdowns.

Running back Noah Cain suffered an ankle injury on the first series and didn’t return.

The sloppy half end in fitting fashion. Penn State got a big break, forcing a fumble inside the Hoosier 10, with Lamont Wade recovering at the 8. But Jake Pinegar’s 25-yard field goal try hit the left upright as time expired.

Update: 4:57 p.m.

Indiana 17, Penn State 7

Lamont Wade fumbled the ensuing kickoff at the goal line and only managed to make it out to the 5. That put the PSU offense in a tough spot.

On third down from the 5, Clifford sailed a pass for his second interception. Jamar Johnson picked it off and returned it to the 4. Two plays later, Stevie Scott scored from 2 yards out for a 17-7 Hoosier lead.

Update: 4:50 p.m.

Indiana 10, Penn State 7

The Hoosiers got a 21-yard pass play to start a drive — although there appeared to be a push off by the receiver that wasn’t called. Indiana mixed it up after that before Stevie Scott broke free wide open up the middle for what turned into a 14-yard TD with 8:12 left in the second quarter.

That run put Scott over 2,000 yards rushing in his career.

Update: 4:20 p.m.

Penn State 7, Indiana 3

Sean Clifford threw an awful interception on a screen pass, and it was returned to the PSU. 38. The Lions’ defense gave up two first downs, then stopped the Hoosiers at the 16 before a 34-yard field goal by Charles Campbell.

Update: 3:53 p.m.

Penn State 7, Indiana 0

Here’s a quick look at my Like/Don’t Like feature that will be a staple of game coverage. I’ll have an extensive look at lots of things after the game. Here’s an example, with lots to like and nothing to dislike on a 13-play, 64-yard TD drive to open the season.

Like: Went tempo on first drive, after getting a first down deep Indiana territory. We never saw that in the “hurry up and wait” system ran by Joe Moorhead and Ricky Rahne in recent years.

Like: Mixed it up between Noah Cain and Devyn Ford on first series, getting both involved early.

Don’t like: Cain had to go into the medical tent with some type of ankle situation.

Like: The Lions went for it on fourth-and-goal at the 2 on their opening drive. They could have taken points to assure something from the drive, but they set an aggressive tone by going for it.

LOVE: The play call on fourth-and-goal at the 2. A little play action and then a soft toss to Pat Freiermuth in the end zone. A thing of beauty. It capped a 13-play, 64-yard opening drive.

Update: 3:40 p.m.

**Penn State announces that it will not be releasing a travel roster to the media prior to games this season.

Update: 3:12 p.m.

Update: 3:08 p.m.

Update: 3 p.m.

**Inactive list information:

Penn State will not release an inactive list, according to an announcement just made in the press box.
Here are Indiana’s inactive players:

Update: 2:55 p.m.

Update: 12:15 p.m.

**OK, so this happened on ESPN’s “College Gameday” show this morning:

**Which led to former PSU quarterback Matt McGloin posting this:

Steve Sampsell is a PSU professor who covers the media aspect of the beat. He posted this in response to a tweet on the story. Then McGloin followed up with a good response tweet.

Corso was Indiana’s head coach from 1973-82, by the way.

**James Franklin with his usual reminder.

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Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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