For the second time this season the Penn State defense had no answers for an opposing offense.
Indiana’s trio of Nate Sudfeld, Tre Roberson and Tevin Coleman carved up the Nittany Lions (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) defense all day as the Hoosiers (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten) racked up 486 total yards in their 44-24 blowout win in their Big Ten conference opener on Saturday afternoon.
The win was Indiana’s first over Penn State all-time; the Hoosiers had lost the first 16 meetings in the series.
After getting out to a 13-7 halftime lead, the Hoosiers saw their lead evaporate early in the third quarter when Christian Hackenberg hit Allen Robinson for a 26-yard score to put the Nittany Lions up 14-7 after a Sam Ficken extra point at the 9:18 mark.
With the game hanging in the balance, the Hoosiers offense took the field, seized the momentum and then some. Indiana went on a 28-3 scoring run following the Robinson touchdown to put a bow on their first conference-opening win since 2000.
The run started with a 44-yard touchdown run from Coleman, who finished with 147 total yards and the lone score. A Sam Ficken field goal brought Penn State to within four at 21-17, but the Hoosiers offense was too much for the Nittany Lions defense.
Indiana’s offense used a 21-point blitz to open the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to provide the dagger.
Tre Roberson started the party with a two-yard touchdown run on third down to push the Hoosier lead to 28-17. Roberson split time at quarterback with Sudfeld, giving Indiana a running threat from under center.
Then it was time for Sudfeld to star. The sophomore scrambled away from pressure and threw a perfect strike on the run to Kofi Hughes in the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown at the 10:42 mark. The score put Indiana up 35-17 and in firm control, Sudfeld finished the day 23 of 38 for 321 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Eugene Lewis fumbled on the ensuing kickoff return and setup the Hoosier offense deep in Penn State territory for the kill shot, a nine-yard run by Roberson to push the lead to 42-17.
A garbage time touchdown from Penn State and a safety for the Hoosiers capped the scoring in this one at 44-24.
Going into the game, Penn State hoped to feast on an Indiana rush defense allowing around 250 yards per game, but that simply wasn’t the case on Saturday. The Hoosiers stuffed the Nittany Lion running game, holding Penn State rushers to just 70 yards on 38 attempts. The 1.8 yards per carry was by far a season-low for the Nittany Lions.
Instead, the Penn State offense relied on freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg and the passing game to keep close. Hackenberg finished the day 30 of 55 for 340 yards and three touchdowns.
Allen Robinson lead Penn State with 12 catches for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Cody Latimer was the Hoosiers’ leading receiver, catching nine passes for 140 yards on the day.
One bright spot for the Nittany Lions was improved play on third down. Coming into the game ranking almost dead last in FBS in third down conversion percentage, the Penn State offense went 11 of 22 on the money down. On the flip side, they were just one for five on their fourth down conversion attempts.
Penn State hosts No. 19 Michigan next week in Beaver Stadium at 5 pm, oh boy.