Penn State football was missing true freshman running back Saquon Barkley, running back Akeel Lynch and starting center Angelo Mangiro as the Nittany Lions opened their Homecoming matchup against the Hoosiers. Indiana started the game without starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld and running back Jordan Howard.
But clever playcalling and an all-legs drive from Nittany Lion quarterback Christian Hackenberg earned Penn State the 19-7 lead by the half, despite the missing personnel.
Both sides couldn't muster much offense to start, combining for four punts in the first six minutes of the game. Hackenberg was also sacked twice.
A jet-sweep-handoff-fake-turned-wheel-route from quarterback Christian Hackenberg to freshman receiver Brandon Polk put Penn State's first points on the board.
But Indiana, led by backup quarterback Zander Diamont, marched the Hoosiers down the field in 3:24, and ran in a 12-yard touchdown himself to seal it. After, he faced the Penn State crowd, and held a finger to his facemask as if to "shush" the crowd.
Receiver DaeSean Hamilton answered for Penn State in the second quarter with a 39-yard fingertip snag for six. Kicker Joey Julius missed the extra point.
Hackenberg set up the next Penn State touchdown drive with his legs, carrying on two consecutive snaps for 19 and 22 yards, respectively, the latter of which is a career-long for the junior. The quarterback then faked a handoff and shook off a wide-open Kyle Carter in the end zone to run in the keeper himself. Julius missed a second-straight extra point.
Hackenberg had 186 passing yards and two touchdowns, plus a rushing touchdown by halftime.
Penn State's defense racked up three sacks on Diamont in the first half.