Final Thoughts: Penn State 34 , Indiana 27

By Barry Leonard on November 16, 2019 at 3:43 pm
Nov 16, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Journey Brown (4) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off their first loss of the season last week, it was going to be interesting to see how Penn State came out at home against a tough Indiana team. After a weird first half that saw the Nittany Lions take a slight lead into the break, Penn State made the plays when needed and came out with the important win. 

The win was just what the Nittany Lions needed after last week's disappointment in Minnesota. The win over Indiana was a mixed bag of good and bad, but a win is a win, and that's ultimately all that matters. 

  • After his worst game of the year last week, quarterback Sean Clifford looked much better this week. He got back to looking comfortable in the pocket and was able to make big throws when needed. Clifford finished the game with 179 passing yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he did not thrown any interceptions. He also made important plays with his legs, running for 55 yards and two touchdowns, including a fourth-and-goal score that put the game away
  • The secondary was, uh, not very good again. Penn State's pass defense was exposed against Minnesota last week and it didn't look much better for long stretches of this one. While the secondary improved slightly in the second half, there are still major issues that need corrected. Blown coverages and guys not turning around to find the ball have continued to plague the defensive backfield. Peyton Ramsey had a career high 371 yards on 31-of-41 passing.
  • KJ Hamler was injured on a kickoff return in the first quarter and didn't return. Hopefully he's recovered in time for next week's huge game in Columbus. 
  • The play-calling was once again questionable at times. I'm still confused about the Will Levis run in the red zone and having Jahan Dotson line up in the backfield, only to split out wide with one second remaining on the play clock, forcing a timeout. 
  • Journey Brown has established himself as the team's best running back over the past few weeks, and that trend continued against the Hoosiers. Brown carried the ball 21 times for 100 yards and a key second half touchdown

With the win, Penn State heads into the big game at Columbus with a 9-1 record, and technically in control of its College Football Playoff destinty. That would require a monumental upset against the Buckeyes.

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