Oh, sure, this Turkey thought that Penn State would get off to a slow start on Saturday. After all, it was a 12:00 P.M. start, and those are problematical. Furthermore, the troops had to be demoralized after the big loss at home at the behest of the Buckeyes the previous week. Indiana, in the meanwhile, had little to lose and much to gain. They could become bowl eligible with a win. Their record was uninspiring though, tempting this week’s opposition to take the Hoosiers too lightly, even though they had been in striking distance of victory in every game except the Virginia disaster. However, even with all those suggestions that the Nittany Lions would get off to a slow start, the extent of FUBARage that they would display in this game boggled this old gobbler’s birdbrain imagination.
The result belied the circumstances. The Lions (9-2, 5-2 Big Ten) overcame some significant self-created adversity to extinguish the hopes of the Hoosiers (4-7, 1-6 Big Ten), by the deceiving score of 31-20. Penn State had gone into the game better than a three touchdown favorite and not only once again failed to cover the spread, but also were playing catchup during most of the first half.
I’m not going to drag you through all the details of this cockeyed game. If you see game stats, the one that sticks right out at you is Penn State’s four turnovers. If you didn’t see the game, it was enough to give you nightmares about the special teams you didn’t think could get much worse than they have been all season. Sorry, but they’re going backward. Fortunately, there’s only one more game for them to screw up.
My God, what a mess! Darryl Clark’s interception with 8:41 left in the first quarter was only mildly awful, but it was a portent of things to come. Although it resulted in an Indiana touchdown, one could easily forget about it during the special teams nightmares. But before we get to those abominations, let us make time for another interception, this one in the red zone, with Penn State driving with 1:43 left in the first quarter. Penn State was pissing in the wind once again.
After a three and out, Indiana punted. See Astorino catch the ball. See Drew run. See Drew play. See Drew fumble. See the nice man with the white shirt fall on it. Oh oh oh! As the quarter drew to a close, this Turkey was already completely pissed off. Three damn turnovers in one quarter of football! Was this Penn State?
Thus, the first quarter was completely FUBAR, and the Nittany Lions were lucky to get out of it trailing by only 10.
The second quarter was pretty uneventful in its early boringness. Penn State finally was able to get on the board with a 33-yard Collin Wagner field goal with about three minutes left.
The fourth turnover of the first half would occur forthwith. After another three and out, Indiana punted to Graham Zug, who wound up going backward six yards before fumbling the ball away on his own 29, setting up the Hoosiers for what appeared to be another scoring opportunity, which would have left the Nittany Lions in a very bad way heading into the locker room. However, the defense held, and the Hoosiers’ field goal attempt was no good, so with 55 seconds to go, Penn State called a time out.
Clark drove his men down the field, and with the help of a facemask penalty set up on the Indiana 13. On second down, Clark hit Evan Royster for six, and with the addition of the extra point, the game was back to a flat-footed tie.