FedEx: When it absolutely, positively sucks to be Indiana.
Let's be honest, here. The Hoosiers put up quite a fight for nearly three quarters. As I mentioned in my preview, they have played some teams tough--they nearly coulda shoulda beat Iowa, and hung in comparable to PSU against Ohio State and Illinois. But the Hoosiers haven't been able to actually translate their moral victories into real victories. But then again, neither has Penn State.
The Hoosiers are now winless in the conference. Winning this game is not exactly something to FedEx home about. On the other hand, things could have been worse--we could have lost.
And tied at 24 deep in the third quarter, that was a distinct possibility. Colin Wagner missed a 43 yard field goal that gave Indiana good field position.
But the Hoosiers were unable to move the ball and then a strange thing happened. Someone stepped up and made a play.
Enter Andrew Daily who blocked the punt while James Van Fleet (fleet of foot!) took the ball in for what would be the winning touchdown. The spark led to 17 unanswered points offensively, and the defense tightened like a steel trap. Indiana could manage only two more first downs in the fourth quarter, and Drew Astorino would make an interception that set up a field goal.
This game was a microcosm of the entire season. At times we played well. We scored on our first two possessions of the game. But then we made mistakes--losing yardage on a fourth and one on the opening drive of the second half, and missing a makeable field goal. Four players were disciplined for being late on the team bus. The injury bug bit center Doug Klopacz. Such has been this season.
In the end, Penn State won a game against a team that it should beat. McGloin continues to look good and run the offense well. And despite giving up 24 points, the defense did well, holding the Hoosiers to 90 yards rushing on the day and 332 yards in total offense.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Penn State dominated time of possession 37 minutes to 23. This was keyed at least in part due to going 11 of 17 on third down conversions and 494 yards of total offense. The Hoosiers high powered offense only managed 4 of 13 on third down conversions.
Penn State is now 14-0 all-time versus Indiana.
Indiana won the toss and elected to take the ball.
JoePa pads his lead with victory #401.
The crowd, mostly PSU fans, was 78,790.
THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:
Three teams now have one conference loss and are 10-1 overall: O$U, Wisconsin, and MSU.
MSU slipped past Purdue 35-31.
Illinois downed Northwestern 48-27.
Wisconsin badgered THEM, beating the wolverines in Ann Arbor 48-28.
The Pro team from Columbus snuck by Iowa 20-17.
Minnesota did not play.
1. The Hawkeyes. Sucks to be mediocre, doesn't it? Yeah, you beat us but we're both 7-4.
2. Nebraska--lost 9-6 to Texas A&M
3. USC--trounced 36-7 by Oregon State. Can they please beat the Irish?
4. Miami--out hokied 31-17. The Canes have NEVER been to the ACC championship game.
5. Mississippi--lost 43-36 to Lucky State U (LSU)
The Spartans come a-knocking with their 10-1 record to Beaver Stadium. I don't believe they have ever won at Beaver Stadium, but I'm too busy to look that up. Gametime has been set for noon.
The Spartans only loss came at the hands of Iowa. Been there and done that!
But their record is deceptive. Their out of conference foes are laughable: Western Michigan, Florida Atlantic and Northern Colorado. Their marquee match-up with Notre Dame went to OT, and the Irish aren't very good this year.
They lost to Iowa as badly or worse than we did. They did beat Illinois. And to their credit, they beat the Badgers somehow. The Spartans do not play Ohio State.
In short, they are a good team, capable of beating a top ten program. We, on the other hand, look at times like a good team, but unable to beat anyone that has a pulse. Our marquee win is probably a shootout over THEM in prime time.
But that all said, I think we have a chance in this game, mainly with home field advantage. A win would not only give us a boost going into the bowl and next season, but give some legitimacy to this season with a win over a ranked, quality opponent. A loss just confirms how mediocre this season was.