Key Play [Indiana]: Clifford's 2nd Interception Sets Up Easy Indiana Score

By John Morgan on October 27, 2020 at 8:30 am
Oct 24, 2020; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers running back Stevie Scott III (8) dives into he end zone for a touchdown under Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Jesse Luketa (40) during the second quarter of the game at Memorial Stadium.
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

There were about twelve plays that could be chosen for this feature from a disappointing one-point loss. There was the late Nittany Lions touchdown in regulation, the final Indiana drive in regulation, and of course the final play. Penn State made too many mistakes and it eventually caught up to it in the end.

The Lions jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on their first drive. After Sean Clifford's first interception on an errant screen pass, the Hoosiers cut the lead to 7-3. Indiana took over after a Nittany Lions punt and drove 62 yards in six plays to take a three-point lead.

Penn State's ensuing drive started off with Lamont Wade muffing the kickoff and then making the bad decision to return the ball to the Penn State five.


It was one of several gaffes by Penn State's special teams on the day, but the decision put the offense behind the eight-ball to start the drive. 


On first down, Clifford was flushed from the pocket and was taken down for no gain. On second down, Clifford threw a pass to tight end Pat Freiermuth who had a very uncharacteristic drop on the play. That setup a third and 10 and Sean Clifford made his second big mistake of the game. 


Penn State lined up with three receivers to Clifford's right with Freiermuth nearest to the line. Off the snap, Freiermuth tried to find a spot behind the linebacker and in front of the Hoosiers safety.  


The offensive line held off a push by the Indiana defensive front, but Clifford was not totally able to step into the pass and it sailed over Freiermuth's head. 


Indiana Jamar Johnson was the beneficiary, and had an easy interception that he returned down to the Penn State four. Two plays later, Stevie Scott III scored on a two-yard run and Indiana had claimed a 17-7 lead. 

Needless to say, the Nittany Lions had ample opportunities to get back into the game, but the Hoosiers were feeling confident and primed to pull the upset. Clifford eventually settled down, but between turnovers, penalties ,and several other mental mistakes were all contributors to the Nittany Lions undoing.