Indiana's quick-strike offense and solid special teams play paved the way for the Hoosiers to notch a 44-24 victory over Penn State Saturday afternoon at wet and damp Memorial Stadium in Bloomington. It marked the first IU victory over Penn State in 17 games since the Nittany Lions began Big Ten Conference play, and also is the first time in 13 years that the Hoosiers have started 1-0 in league play.
IU QB Nate Sudfeld threw for 321-yards and two touchdowns as the Hoosiers (3-2 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) wore down the Penn State (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) defense and took advantage of favorable field position. Sudfeld finished 23 of 38 with the toucdown and an interception. Sophomore RB Tevin Coleman added 92 yards, including a 44-yard scamper for a touchdown, and backup QB Tre Roberson contributed two short-yardage scores as the Hoosiers posted a 23-point fourth quarter scoring barrage to break open a close game.
The Hoosiers oft-maligned defense came up big as well. IU came into the contest allowing a Big Ten worst 248 yards per game, but held Penn State to just 70-yards on the ground. The Hoosiers also took advantage of sloppy Nittany Lions special team play, as Penn State botched a field goal attempt and had another blocked. The Nittany Lions also fumbled a kickoff. With the security of a big lead late, the Hoosiers pass rush forced Penn State into a endzone sack, resulting in a safety.
In what could be a statement game for IU head coach Kevin Wilson, the Hoosiers looked like the better team. Wide receiver Cody Latimer caught nine balls for 140-yards and fellow wideout Kofi Hughes made a spectacular 36-yard sliding grab for a touchdown.
On the other side, it was a demoralizing loss for Penn State and second-year head coach Bill O'Brien. Despite a 340-yard passing day from freshman QB Christian Hackenberg, he appeared rattled and out-of-sync. The IU attack unit held its own on a couple Nittany Lion fourth down attempts, and cornerback Tim Bennett proved to be the active, ballhawking presence the Hoosiers have lacked in recent years. Penn State's lone bright spot was the play of athletic WR Allen Robinson, who caught a career-high 12 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. In two games against the Hoosiers, Robinson has caught 22 passes for 370 yards and five touchdowns.
The huge win gives IU an opportunity to get their season back on track. The Hoosiers face a treacherous two-game stretch in Michigan, where they'll face the Spartans and Wolverines in consecutive weeks.
Extra Points: Coleman's rushing touchdown gave him a score in each of the Hoosiers first five games....Hughes became the 19th Hoosier with 100 receptions and 1,000 yards in his career and the second current Hoosier (Shane Wynn). He finished with four catches for 85 yards and a touchdown...Junior safety Mark Murphy finished with a game-high 10 tackles (seven solo), his sixth career-double-digit tackle game and his first this season. Also on the defensive side, junior cornerback Tim Bennett had eight tackles, all solo, and broke up a career-high four passes in the contest.