In past years, this is a game that would usually be painstakingly close. On paper, it had all the ingredients for a “WTF” performance — coming off an emotional loss, the injuries on the offensive line, and the windy forecast in Bloomington. But the Nittany Lions didn’t let this one close, blowing out Indiana 45-14 on Saturday afternoon.
While much of the focus of this game will be about what Drew Allar accomplished in the second half, this game begins and ends with what Penn State did up front on both sides of the ball. It might have taken a little bit of time for it to show on the scoreboard, but eventually, Penn State bullied its way to a dominating performance thanks to its clear advantage at the line of scrimmage.
Offensively, the patched-up offensive line really didn’t miss much of a beat despite missing left tackle Olu Fashanu, left guard Landon Tengwall, and right tackle Caedan Wallace. In their place, Drew Shelton, JB Nelson, and Bryce Effner performed admirably, paving the way for 4 rushing touchdowns — three from Kaytron Allen (18 carries, 86 yards) and one from Nick Singleton (16 carries, 73 yards).
The Penn State defensive line — and really, the defense as a whole — was even more dominant though. They finished the afternoon with six sacks and an astounding 16 TFLs. It was a true team effort, with 12 players accounting for at least 0.5 TFLs.
Of course, much of the headlines and talk of this game will be about Allar, who came on in the middle of the third quarter for Sean Clifford. Although it wasn’t necessarily a high-leverage situation for No. 15 — Penn State was up 31-7 when Allar finally came in — the true frosh turned in a very solid performance, ending with 75 yards passing and two touchdowns on 9-of-12 efficiency.
Beyond Allar though, it was the type of performance that Penn State needed to show. As we talked about this week, the Nittany Lions have a prime opportunity to make this November a fruitful one, with one of the softest schedules remaining for a Power 5 program. So while James Franklin and Co. won’t have a “signature win” in the next couple of weeks, that doesn’t mean that business can’t be taken care of.
45-14 against Indiana, though, is a good way to start it out.