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Penn State 33, Indiana 28: What Twitter Had To Say

It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win! And the Twittersphere wasn’t sure how to handle itself

NCAA Football: Penn State at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

It was not pretty, but it was a win. After surviving a trip to Bloomington on Saturday afternoon, the Penn State Nittany Lions are now 5-2 this season.

As always, the Twittersphere was a hip happening place during the game on Saturday. So, let’s take a look at what some of the fine folks of Twitter had to say about Penn State’s 33-28 victory over Indiana.

It did not take junior running back Miles Sanders long to make an impact on Saturday afternoon. While Sanders rushed for just 72 yards on Saturday, he scored the first Nittany Lion touchdown of the day and used his great skill set to average nearly 5 yards per carry.

While Sanders’ star continued to shine, a pair of veteran wide receivers continued to struggle. Both Juwan Johnson and Brand Polk struggled with drops yet again, and one of Polk’s drops was a would be touchdown. People on Twitter dot com were not happy with Johnson or Polk.

It should be noted Johnson did not play in the second half and did not have his helmet on the sideline making it seem that he is battling an injury of some sort.

The struggles of Johnson and Polk led to younger wide receivers getting a look. True freshmen Jahan Dotson and Daniel George each appeared in their second game of the season, with Dotson recording his first career reception.

Redshirt freshman Cam Sullivan-Brown also saw an expanded role, and responded by making a pair of catches for 33 yards.

Moving forward, I would like to see more of the young wideouts and less of Johnson and Polk.

While the offense scored 30+ points for the first time since hanging 63 against Illinois on September 21st, there were still some questionable coaching calls. Early in the game the wind was a major issue, Trace McSorley was struggling, and Miles Sanders was running wild. Yet, offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne refused to ride Sanders.

Even ex-Nittany Lion running back Bill Belton was dumbfounded.

There was also James Franklin’s terrible decision to fake punt from his own side of the 50 with the game tied at 7 in the second quarter. Things were made worse when it failed, leading to an Indiana touchdown and the Hoosiers taking a 14-7 lead.

The coaching staff, however, did go to the LION package early in the game with success which made Nittany Lion fans smile. With Penn State trailing 14-7, one time Indiana commit Tommy Stevens threw his first pass of the season and it was a game tying touchdown toss to Pat Freiermuth.

As a whole, the play of Penn State’s defensive line left a lot to be desired. This is a big reason why the Hoosiers rushed for 224 yards. However, a pair of defensive ends had huge games.

First, there is Yetur Gross-Matos. Gross-Matos flashed why many people see him as a future first round pick on Saturday afternoon racking up a team leading 10 tackles and a pair of sacks. He also drew a pair of holding calls on Saturday, and was unblockable all afternoon long.

Redshirt sophomore Shaka Toney exploded in the 33-28 victory. The Philly native tied the Nittany Lion single-game record with 4 sacks against Indiana.

Defensive line coach Sean Spencer even took to Twitter to comment on the performances of Gross-Matos and Toney.

It was not all good for the Nittany Lion defense, however. Linebackers not named Micah Parsons did not play well on Saturday, this was particularly true about redshirt senior Koa Farmer.

With each week Parsons has cut into Farmer’s playing time more and more. On Saturday, Parsons looked like the starter as he played, by my count, every series except three. At this point, there is no reason for Farmer to continue to start over Parsons.

Despite the fake punt disaster, special teams played a key role in Penn State’s victory Saturday. In the biggest play of his Nittany Lion career, redshirt senior running back Johnathan Thomas returned a kickoff 95 yards to set up a McSorley touchdown run that gave Penn State a 26-21 lead they would not relinquish.

Congrats to Thomas, who has been a great teammate during his five years in Happy Valley, on the big play that played a major role in the Nittany Lion victory.

Special teams also set up Penn State’s fourth and final touchdown. This time it came when Jonathan Sutherland forced a fumble in punt coverage that Nick Scott recovered.

Also, do not overlook true freshman kicker Jake Pinegar. While he did miss his first career PAT, due to it being blocked, he was 2/2 on field goal attempts. This marked the first game since the season opener that Pinegar was perfect on field goal attempts.

Finally, it would not be a John O’Neill officiated Penn State game without mentioning O’Neill. As usual, O’Neill and his officiating crew were terrible. Their msot egregious call was a third quarter targeting call on Garrett Taylor.

Due to the targeting call, the Nittany Lions will be without Taylor for the first half of next week’s match up with Iowa. This is a big blow to the Nittany Lions as Taylor has turned into one of the team’s best defensive players.

That will do it for this week. Penn State is now 5-2. It’s Iowa week.