Welp, that was hot trash.
Here are three takeaways from Penn State’s excruciating 36-35 overtime loss to Indiana.
1) James Franklin is still an absolutely horrible in-game coach
THE GAME WAS OVER. The game was over. The game. Was. Over.
Penn State stopped Indiana inside the Hoosiers 20 with 1:42 to play in regulation up 28-20. Indiana had one timeout left. This means Penn State had any variety of ways to see out the game. The Nittany Lions could take three knees and leave the Hoosiers about five seconds at best after a fourth down play. They could have run the ball and not scored, ending the game with a first down. They could have scored and converted a two-point conversion, going up two possession with 1:27 left, effectively putting the game out of reach. Instead, Penn State did the ONE THING IT COULDN’T DO. The Nittany Lions scored a touchdown, kicked the extra point, and gave Indiana a ton of time to go down and tie the game.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!
2) Sean Clifford is not a playoff caliber QB
I was really bullish on Sean Clifford entering the season. I thought he had a pretty good first starting season. I thought he’d made big strides under Kirk Ciarrocca. I was wrong.
Clifford’s numbers were solid on Saturday. He went 24 of 35 for 238 and three touchdowns as well as carrying the ball 17 times for a team-high 119 yards and a score. But he also threw two picks and made a number of absolutely abhorrent throws, including those two picks.
He doesn’t get threw his progressions well and doesn’t get the ball out quickly under pressure. Clifford is clearly good enough for Penn State to have a lot of success, but not good enough to take Penn State to the next level.
3) Joe Lorig’s special teams unit was a nightmare
After an encouraging opening kickoff return to start the game, Penn State’s special teams went completely to crap.
Jake Pinegar doinked a 27-yard field goal and badly missed another. The Nittany Lions muffed a punt after a miscommunication and Lamont Wade decided to return a kick which he fumbled and took back to the 5-yard line. THE 5-YARD LINE.
Jordan Stout can’t be faulted for his missed 57-yard try to win the game with seconds remaining, but in all the special teams unit was an abject disaster.
I could probably give about five more takeaways in a game where Penn State did its best to lose. But hey, we’ve got eight more games worth of fun!