Halftime Thoughts (Penn State vs. Indiana): Fast Start, Slow Finish

By John Morgan on October 24, 2020 at 5:25 pm
Oct 24, 2020; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers head coach Tom Allen walks among his players before the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
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Penn State started the season with a beautiful drive to take a 7-0 lead, but then the wheels came off after three turnovers. Two interceptions by Sean Clifford and a fumble by Will Levis as the Nittany Lions were threatening to score has put Penn State in a precarious situation. 

After the late Levis fumble, Penn State recovered a fumble with two seconds left on the clock only to have Jake Pinegar doink one off the upright. Penn State trails 17-7 at the half.

Offense

  • Sean Clifford started out strong, but then floated an errant screen pass that was intercepted. Clifford's 2nd interception was just as bad as he airmailed an open Pat Freiermuth and the Hoosiers took a 17-7 lead.
  • Penn State running back Noah Cain suffered an apparent foot injury and has not returned to the game.
  • Turnovers will undo any team, as we saw with Michigan State earlier in the day. Penn State needs to make some plays on both sides of the ball to get back in this game.

Defense

  • The defense started out strong thanks to some bad Michael Penix Jr. throws, but the offense has done them no favors.
  • Lamont Wade did not have a great half. Not only has he been out of position a few times, but a muffed kickoff led to confusion and ending with him being taken down at his own five-yard line. The fumble recovery helped, but it wasn't the safety's best showing.
  • Joey Porter Jr. showed some of that family pedigree with an early sack of Penix Jr. 

Football is back and so is the stress of Penn State football. Sean Clifford simply needs to step up his game in order for Penn State to get back into this game. This is ugly so far, but there's still a full half of football yet to be played.

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