The Nittany Lion offense came to life in the second half, and No. 10 Penn State edged Indiana 45-31 on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley completed 16 of 30 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns, while star running back Saquon Barkley managed 60 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries.
The Hoosiers stuck it to the Nittany Lions to begin the second half. Indiana cashed in with a 47-yard field goal on its first drive of the third quarter, and later in the period extended its lead over Penn State with a 6-yard score by running back Devine Redding.
With 3:13 left in the third quarter, Indiana led Penn State 24-14.
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However, the Nittany Lions responded.
Highlighted by a 43-yard completion from McSorley to Saeed Blacknall, the Nittany Lions hummed down the field on Indiana's defense. A four-play, 70-yard drive that took a little more than two minutes ended with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin, his second of the day.
That cut the Hoosiers' advantage to 24-21 with 1:09 left in the third quarter.
Then came a bit of trickeration.
After forcing a three-and-out, Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead dialed up a flea flicker, and it worked to perfection. Barkley tossed it back to McSorley, who hooked up with a wide-open DaeSean Hamilton for 54 yards. Barkley finished off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown.
Naturally, the Hoosiers bounced back with a big play of their own. Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow hit Nick Westbrook for a 40-yard touchdown completion to take a 31-28 lead with 12:23 left in regulation.
But as the clock waned, Penn State answered.
A pair of completions — a 13-yarder to tight end Mike Gesicki and a 26-yard hookup to Godwin — set up a gutty 13-yard run by Barkley, with the Penn State offensive line pushing Indiana bodies behind him.
Faced with a 2nd-and-goal on the Hoosier 2-yard line, Barkley barreled in for the decisive score with 3:58 to go in regulation.
On Indiana's ensuing drive, the Hoosiers, with only one timeout in their pocket at the time, went for a 4th-and-3 on their own 22-yard line. Penn State defensive tackle Kevin Givens batted Lagow's pass down at the line, generating a turnover on downs.
The Nittany Lions killed as much clock as they could on the subsequent series and set up a 39-yard field goal attempt for Tyler Davis.
Davis, a near-perfect redshirt junior, converted the attempt with 1:12 to go.
For good measure, while Lagow tried to throw the Hoosiers downfield, Brandon Bell came up with a strip-sack, and defensive end Torrence Brown scooped-and-scored on a 9-yard fumble recovery return to push Penn State's lead to 45-31.
Penn State and Indiana were tied 14-14 at halftime.
The Nittany Lions scored on their opening drive for the fourth time in the last five games. Penn State faced a 3rd-and-7 after a pair of short gains to start the series, and Indiana blitzed makeshift offensive line.
With Brendan Mahon not on the travel roster, Chasz Wright started at right tackle and was tested early, as a "B" gap blitz forced McSorley right out of the pocket and toward the Penn State sideline. He kept his eyes downfield, though, and connected with Barkley for a 32-yard pass.
McSorley followed that up with a 17-yard connection with Godwin, and three plays later, on 3rd-and-10 on Indiana's 10-yard line, the redshirt sophomore quarterback dropped back to pass, moved up in the pocket after scanning the field, and took off for a touchdown run.
It's McSorley's sixth rushing score of the season.
However, more bad news for the offensive line struck as left tackle Paris Palmer hobbled off the field after McSorley's score. Palmer, who made his fourth straight start at the position after Andrew Nelson went down with a serious leg injury against Maryland, was carted to the locker room and did not return to action.
The following drive — and for the rest of the half — starting left guard Ryan Bates moved to left tackle while Derek Dowrey filled Bates' vacated position.
Penn State had a few more injury scares.
On the Nittany Lions' third drive of the half, Barkley pulled up a bit gimpy but remained in the game, and McSorley, along with Gesicki, had to briefly leave the field after incurring knocks. Following a Penn State timeout, Gesicki returned on a 4th-and-2 attempt from Indiana's 38 that was denied by the Indiana defense. McSorley returned on the next series with his left ankle taped.
Meanwhile, the Hoosier offense came alive to start the second quarter. Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow, who overthrew a couple potential touchdowns in the first quarter, was on-target during the Hoosiers' fourth drive. He hit Donavan Hale for a 27-yard gain on 2nd-and-23 from Indiana's 27-yard line — and Lagow kept rolling, connecting with Luke Timian for a 24-yard gain and later polishing the drive off with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Jones.
Indiana knotted the game at 7-7 with 12:13 left in the second quarter.
Despite that rhythm, the Hoosiers got in their own way all half long. Indiana had a total of four turnovers, and on the first three occasions, the Hoosiers weren't burned.
But Penn State finally capitalized on their fourth giveaway. On a 37-yard punt by Penn State's Blake Gillikin, the ball hit an Indiana player and was recovered by Christian Campbell on the Hoosier 6-yard line.
McSorley proceeded to hit Godwin for a play-action touchdown pass in the back of the end zone on the next play with 4:43 left in the half.
McSorley did, however, seem to catch the turnover bug from Indiana. Trying to push it down the field on Penn State's next drive, he was picked off for the first time since the Nittany Lions' 49-10 loss at Michigan. Rashard Fant returned the interception 34 yards to Penn State's 32.
The Hoosiers capitalized with a 12-yard touchdown run by Redding with 1:00 left until the break.