Penn State 33, Indiana 28
Although no lemonade was produced in the Indiana game, what was good about it was that the #18 Penn State Nittany Lions (5-2, 3-2) snapped a two-game losing streak, and that they all but guaranteed Toilet Bowl eligibility, even if Rutgers is their only win in the remaining schedule.
What was not so damn good about it was everything else.
The semi-bottom feeding Indiana Hoosiers (4-4, 1-4) outplayed the Lions, outcoached the Lions, and even while trying to give the game away with penalties and turnovers, kept themselves in competition until the end.
The old sports cliche of “letting them hang around” applied.
Just for the Hell of It
The stats don’t tell the whole story, but I’ll mention them just for the hell of it. The Hoosiers outgained the Lions 554 to 417. (Great defense, Brent Pry!) The Hoosiers had 32 first downs to the Lions’ 20. The Hoosiers converted 43% of third-down situations to the Lions’ 33%. The Hoosiers’ “increasingly irrelevant” Time of Possession was 33:58 to the Lions’ 26:02. It goes on and on.
Indiana threw two different quarterbacks at the Lions, including a slippery freshman named Penix (who, in my puerile humor, I determined was a dick with wings that rose from the ashes). Starter Patrick Ramsey was his usual accurate self, 26-36 with a touchdown and an interception, while Penix went 9 for 19 for 94 yards. Penix added two rushes for 24 yards.
The Hoosiers’ rushing game was supposedly deficient, yet against Penn State’s nonexistent front seven, Freshman RB Stevie Scott had a wonderful day: 26 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
All right, maybe I’m being harsh on the front seven. After all, they recorded six sacks and eight TFLs. However, they were horrible in stopping the run, giving up 224 yards — and the secondary was absolutely crappy in run support. Indiana rushers were able to complete long runs of 18, 30, 26, yards like a hot knife through buttah.
Meanwhile, the vaunted Penn State OFFense was just that: OFF.
Trace McSorley finished 19-36 for 220 yards and one interception. He rushed 19 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Miles Sanders had 15 carries for 72 yards. Ricky Slade was nowhere to be seen.
Again, we saw some crappy coaching calls. Again, we saw some crappy special teams play.
After the game, James Franklin was not talking about “great” or “elite” teams. Neither was he talking about Super Bowls. Instead, he said, “Every time it seemed like we had the game in control and were able to put them away, they would battle back. We’ll take this win, go back and watch the film, make corrections and get better.”
Translation: We sucked. We couldn’t contain a minimal offense of a bottom-half Big Ten team. We blew.
After this game, though, we all got to enjoy the look on Urbz’ face while his Schmuckeyes were being absolutely dismantled by the Purdue Boilermakers, 49-20.
That game gave us pleasure, no doubt, as did Jim Harbaugh’s pointed accusation that Mark D’Antonio was smilingly walking five yards behind some troublemakers in the pre-game brouhaha, which D’Antonio claimed was BS.
“What was that?”
“You heard me. That was BS.”
Anyway, it’s on to Iowa and this turkey is cringing. OMG OMG WTF! They just completely shut down our rivalry-game-of-the-year opponent, Maryland, with whom we might be eventually competing for the better of the American Standard Toilet Bowl or the Poulan Weed Eater Bowl invitations. The Terps were held to 115 total yards and were dominated throughout, including in the increasingly irrelevant Time of Possession, 40:55 to 19:05. Oy gevalt!
Maybe we can use Iowa as a tune-up game in advance of our trip to the Big House. Try a few fake punts or something. Maybe a Doug Flutie drop-kick to befuddle the Hawkeye D. If lowly Indiana with its defective run game can outgain Penn State on the ground, what will run happy Iowa do?
But I digress.
The Maryland Terrapins are our peers this year. I’m done.