Penn State (5-4, 2-4 Big Ten) ended its four-game losing streak against Indiana (3-6, 0-5 Big Ten) with a final score of 13-6 on Saturday afternoon.
Neither team scored in the first quarter, despite chances for both the Hoosiers and the Lions. The teams combined for a total of seven punts (averaging one every 2:14) in the first, but the inability to start any kind of sustainable offense plagued both teams through the game.
It wasn’t until the second quarter that the Hoosiers opened up the scoring after Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg threw the ball into a mass of players, allowing senior safety Mark Murphy to intercept his pass and return it 47 yards for the first touchdown of the contest.
Penn State would answer after just 20 seconds when senior running back Bill Belton took the hand-off from Hackenberg and took off down the field for a 92-yard run, the longest rushing touchdown in Penn State history. Kicker Sam Ficken would convert the extra point, tying the game to wrap up the first half. He later scored the go-ahead field goal in the third quarter after having his first attempt blocked by Indiana’s Ralph Green III in the second.
The rest of the third quarter passed uneventfully, riddled with mistakes from both teams that resulted in a low-scoring game. Hackenberg was sacked five times, calling attention once again to the holey Penn State offensive line.
Indiana’s Oakes Griffin missed a game-tying 51-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter before redshirt sophomore linebacker Nyeem Wartman intercepted a pass from Indiana quarterback Zander Diamont and returned it to the Hoosier 24-yard line with 2:26 left to play, but Penn State couldn’t convert the drive and settled for Ficken’s third field goal attempt of the night, finalizing the score at 13-6 as Ficken kicked a 28-yard field goal with under a minute to play.
Indiana had three incomplete passes to end the game as Diamont tried to hurry the ball up the field, but the Penn State defense was too much, holding running back Tevin Coleman to 71 yards. Coleman, who leads the Big Ten and is third in the nation in rushing yards, has not been held to under 100 yards in ten games.
Penn State’s next game is at Beaver Stadium against Temple on November 15; the time and broadcast station have yet to be announced.
Photo credit: USA Today