Indiana 36, Penn State 35
Like a favorite old aunt rallying from a dread disease, our Lions gave us relapsing hope, then suddenly crushed us with an ever-escalating systemic shutdown that resulted in the death of the patient. A viewing will be held at the W.T.F Replay Funeral Home.
Although initial emotional assessments are divided between “we deserved it, the way were outcoached and outplayed” and “the replay official fucked us,” the replay is what Sanguinarians will always recall. Oblique angled video showing Michael Penix, Jr.’s valiant 6’3″ fully stretched body diving for the corner pylon will haunt the annals of Penn State bullshit for the rest of some people’s lives. Long after this turkey hangs up his keyboard, Penn State fans will be looking back at that moment of crushing defeat as a sure, albeit paranoid, confirmation that Big Ten Officials hate Penn State and will do anything to put us down because we’re not Michigan or Ohio State.
As for me, I think the damn replay stuff is bullshit. The rule says that indisputable evidence must exist to overturn a call on the field. Of course, the Sanguinarians are all running around saying IT WAS OBVIOUSLY OUT OF BOUNDS, but it was anything but. The evidence, even in slo-mo, was anything but conclusive — we’re talking about millisecond timing and gnat’s pube hair distance differentials here. So I’m calling bullshit on the Sanguinarians.
Yea, verily, bad coaching put us in that position, and we couldn’t even capitalize on a wayward Indiana kicker’s dumbass decision when he all but handed us the game.
First Half Slopfest
The first half slopfest that called itself a game ended with the Hoosiers leading 17-7. Three Penn State turnovers handed the plucky enemy ten of those points. We can attribute that to the lack of practice, no warm up games with Kent State, and opening night jitters, I suppose. But in the words of the Four Seasons, LET’S HANG ON TO WHAT WE’VE GOT! Thank you, Frankie Valli.
Penalties, too. You know what I mean?
Field goals? Missed two. More rust?
Rallies and Hope
The patient rallied with a touchdown in the third quarter to narrow Indiana’s lead to three, and after allowing the gap to become six on a Charles Campbell field goal, began what couldashoulda been the game winning drive, capped by a 60-yard pass from Sean Clifford to Jahan Dotson. After the extra point, Penn State was up 21-20 with 2:30 left on the clock. They just needed a defensive stand and some good clock management.
They got the defensive stand, forcing a four-and-out deep in Indiana territory with a mere 1:47 left on the clock.
Now, any armchair coaching idiot would have the answer in this situation, first and ten from the 14. Concentrate on the clock. The clock is our friend. Run around, maybe get the first down to seal the game and if not, hand the ball over on downs with a second or two on the clock. That ain’t what happened. Devyn Ford got the ball on first and ten and ran it in for the TD, taking a mere five seconds off the clock.
We all saw Ford’s hesitation and bewilderment as Indiana opened a path for him like Moses parting the Red Sea. On the one yard line, he hesitated looking around saying WTF? Did he take a knee there? Nope, he went in. We all saw it. We all said WTF? You could hear the WTF echoes all the way to Victoryville and back. Someone tripped over the cord to the ventilator. Auntie was rallying but we were worried.
Michael Penix and his troops confirmed our worst fears when they drove 75 yards for the touchdown. After a successful two-point conversion leaving only 22 seconds on the clock, the game was tied. Auntie? Can you hear us? We love you. Please hang on!
All Indiana had to do was kick it deep and let the clock be their friend this time. This provided their opportunity for egregious boneheadedness.
Thou Art a Dumbass
Kicker Jared Smolar inexplicably squibbed the ball, dribbling it to a surprised Daniel George for a bewildering net of 14 yards handing the ball to Penn State with a short field for a game-winning field goal. (Of course, field goals were an adventure on this day, so doubt crept into our minds). Could Auntie rally and be her old self?
The cameras displayed Tom Allen berating Smolar. Who knows what went through the kid’s mind as he made his dumbass kicking decision? The cameras followed #90 for a while, rubbing it in. If Penn State made a short drive, kicked a field goal, and won, this kid would be run out of Bloomington and would forever be a pariah. Think Steve Bartman and the Chicago Cubs in 2003 or Bill Buckner in an earlier baseball context.
However, the Lord of the Clock intervened in Smolar’s behalf. The Nittany Lions could only muster a nine-yard drive before being forced to kick a 57-yard game winning field goal with three seconds on the clock. Nope. Another bit of false hope. Overtime!
Penn State scored a touchdown on its possession and Indiana responded in kind. You know the rest. Ballsy call. Go for two. Determined quarterback. Controversial call. Indiana wins. The patient dies, shockingly.
As we mourn, half of us blame the doctors while the other half think it was what was to be.
For my money, I think Franklin’s clock management was awful, and his communication with the players was even worse. HOW THE HELL did Devyn Ford not get the message? Franklin sidestepped the issue in his postgame presser. We might never know, but I think he had his head straight up his ass, as did the rest of his anesthetized staff. Game management sucked.
I’m disgusted. Auntie didn’t have to go this way. It could have been much more dignified. What are your feelings on this mournful day?