Indiana upset No. 8 Penn State 36-35 in overtime on Saturday. The game’s ending sequence was one of the wildest you will ever see.
The game went into overtime and Penn State struck first to take a 35-28 lead. When Indiana scored, head coach Tom Allen opted to keep his offense on the field to go for two points and the win.
It came down to the slimmest of margins.
IU quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was flushed out of the pocket and forced to dive for the pylon. Penix had to stretch the ball out as far as he could, and the play was ruled a successful try on the field.
After a lengthy review, the call on the field stood. But should it have? Multiple angles appeared to show the ball out of bounds mere millimeters before it hit the pylon.
Evidently, there was not enough to overturn the call on the field. The play stood as called, and Indiana was able to celebrate its first win over a top-10 opponent since 1987.
Penn State dug early hole, took late lead
The Nittany Lions dug themselves a 17-7 hole via three turnovers and a missed chip-shot field goal — all in the first half. But the score was not indicative of the play on the field. Indiana had failed to gain even 100 yards offensively, but still went into the halftime break up 10.
In the second half, Penn State’s offense — which dinked and dunked its way down the field mostly at three- or four-yard clips — made the plays it needed to take the lead.
Penn State rallied from 17-7 down to take a 21-20 lead. First. PSU quarterback Sean Clifford — who threw two ugly first-half interceptions that resulted in 10 Indiana points — escaped pressure and reeled off an impressive 35-yard touchdown run to cut IU’s lead to 17-14 on the final play of the third quarter.
Penn State would need three tries, but it eventually took the lead. After a punt and a turnover on downs deep in IU territory, Clifford connected with Jahan Dotson on a 60-yard touchdown deep ball to put the Nittany Lions ahead 21-20 with 2:30 to play.
Penn State doomed by ... its own touchdown?
After PSU went ahead, its defense quickly forced the Hoosiers to turn it over on downs and the offense was back on the field at the IU 14-yard line with 1:42 to go. Indiana had just one timeout remaining.
On the first play of that drive, Clifford handed off to Devyn Ford. Ford waltzed into the end zone untouched. But it was a touchdown he did not mean to score.
Ford started slowing down as he approached the goal line, seeming to remember instructions from the sideline. By the time he realized he should stay in the field of play, he had already scored.
On second look, Indiana may have actually let him score — something Allen confirmed after the game.
"We have a signal to our defense to let the opposing team score. So we made that call,” Allen said. “I was surprised. I was hoping he wouldn't go down at the 1-yard line."
Penn State coach James Franklin said Ford was told to “get as many yards as you can and then get down.”
After Ford’s touchdown, Franklin took the extra point (instead of potentially making it a two-possession game with a two-point try) and his team went up eight, 28-20, with 1:42 to play.
That sequence opened the door for Indiana. Penix, who had been battered by the PSU pass rush throughout the second half, led the Hoosiers on a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. And when IU needed a two-point conversion to tie the score, Penix kept on a QB draw to do so.
Penn State’s final try in regulation
The wackiness would not end there. There were still 22 seconds left on the clock and an Indiana squib kick inexplicably went awry, giving PSU great field position. The Nittany Lions would gain nine yards to set up a potential game-winning field goal try for Jordan Stout.
Stout is PSU’s punter and kickoff specialist. He also serves as the kicker on long tries. The usual kicker, Jake Pinegar, missed two field goals earlier in the game, including one from just 25 yards that clanked off the upright.
Pinegar missed just one field goal in all of 2019, but Stout has the bigger leg. He hit from 53 and 57 yards last year, so Franklin trotted him out on third-and-1 with eight seconds remaining.
PSU was out of timeouts, so Franklin did not want to risk a try for a few more yards when the clock could potentially expire.
Stout launched one from 57 yards, and his try came up short by about a foot.
The miss sent the game to overtime, opening the door for Penix’s heroics and one of the biggest wins in the history of Indiana football.
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