After a game that required every single second to get the win, Penn State came back home to face an Indiana team that hasn’t been a pushover by any stretch of the imagination. After the first quarter, however, any inkling of a potential letdown was completely quelled after the Nittany Lions had already taken a four score lead.
Saquon Barkley took the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, officially making it clear why he’s returning kicks in the first place. A couple of Indiana turnovers later made the score 21-0. The Hoosiers made another mistake after forcing a Penn State punt by roughing the kicker, which led to another touchdown drive. After a 28-point first quarter, it looked like the rest of the game would be a formality.
Give credit to the Hoosiers. Just like last season, they were able to contain Barkley from scrimmage. Saquon only managed 56 yards on 20 carries in the game, although his all-purpose yardage totaled 205 due to his long kickoff return early, as well as the four passes he caught for 51 yards. The Hoosier defense was an overall nuisance against Penn State in the second quarter, and, stop me if you’ve heard this before, the offensive line did not do much to redeem themselves in this game. Penn State’s offense was the opposite of its first quarter self in the second quarter, which allowed Indiana to hang around and go into the half only two scores after it looked like the game was over 10 minutes into it.
The Nittany Lions managed to compose themselves throughout the second half, easing their way into the kind of victory we expected when it was all said and done. The defense made sure of that.
For all Penn State’s miscues —missed field goals, blocked field goals, loss of yardage at the line of scrimmage, you name it, the defense looked as dominant as they have been all season. They went on to force four turnovers in the game, all but one of which led to points for the Lions. It’s encouraging to know that when the offense takes a quarter off, the defense will be there to bail them out.
I hope saying that Penn State needs to figure something out with the offensive line doesn’t come with as many objection as it did a few weeks ago. This is the second Big Ten game where the line left something to be desired. And, again, the team still has the better opponents left on its conference schedule.
Not much needs to be said about this game aside from the fact that Saquon Barkley can do everything, and now he has a touchdown pass to his name too. The uniforms looked like hot fire, by the way.
I lied. DaeSean Hamilton has the receptions record. Congratulations, DaeSean!
Penn State goes back on the road to face Northwestern, who almost came back to force overtime against Wisconsin. It will be imperative for the Nittany Lions to start, and finish, well against the Wildcats. Game is at noon, on the ESPN family of networks.