Mistake-prone Hoosiers fall to No. 12 Penn State, 45-31

Indiana put No. 12 Penn State on its heels, but the Hoosiers shot themselves in the foot too many times in a 45-31 loss at Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon.

IU turned the ball over on four fumbles in the first half, then saw any hopes of a last-minute rally disappear when Penn State sacked quarterback Richard Lagow, whose fumbled was picked up by Torrence Brown and returned for a game-clinching touchdown.

The first-half woes included a punt that hit the foot of Isaac James at the Indiana 6 to set up PSU’s second touchdown, and the Hoosiers (5-5, 3-4 Big Ten) settled for a 14-all tie at the break.

Indiana then surged to a 24-14 lead late in the third quarter thanks to a Griffin Oakes field goal and a Devine Redding 6-yard touchdown run. That 10-point lead was in spite of passing up a chip-shot field goal and turning the ball over on downs at the 1.

Penn State (8-2, 6-1), which was largely throttled by the Hoosier defense outside of a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, finally came alive with 14 unanswered points of their own.

After the Nittany Lions went ahead, 28-24, the Hoosiers responded quickly with a 40-yard touchdown strike from Richard Lagow to Nick Westbrook.

The two teams then traded punts before Penn State took the lead for good on Saquon Barkley’s 2-yard scoring run, his second touchdown of the day.

Indiana has plenty of time with 3:58 remaining, but starting at its own 15 after a poor kickoff return, the Hoosiers got a four-yard run from Devine Redding, who finished with over 100 yards rushing for the fifth time this season. Lagow threw a deep ball incomplete down the right sideline intended for Nick Westbrook, then another Redding run for three yards brought up 4th-and-3. Lagow then had his slant pass intended for Camion Patrick batted down at the line of scrimmage.

Penn State ran the ball three times before settling for a 39-yard Tyler Davis with 1:07 remaining.

Given one last opportunity to redeem itself, Indiana saw the game come to a fitting end with the strip sack of Lagow, who finished 23-of-40 for 292 yards and two touchdowns.

13 comments

  1. Yep, “mistake-prone” is exactly right. And really bad special teams play. Plus, a head coach who acts like a degenerate gambler by continually forfeiting “easy” points by going for it on 4th down. If IU would have kicked that field goal, we would have had a 13 point lead late in the third quarter. Wasn’t Wilson a math major in college?

    Wilson’s teams just can’t seem to put it all together when they have the opportunity to beat a highly ranked conference opponent. What a waste.

  2. Oh great! Michigan loses to a lowly Iowa team by one point at the last second and temporariliy removes themselves from the playoff picture. Now we have to play Michigan in their house next Saturday. Do you think they will be pumped up to play really well, produce a big victory next week and try to get back into the playoffs?

  3. Another one that got away. Just like Wake Forest. Just like Nebraska. Just like Northwestern (sort of). This team should be 8-2 or even 9-1 by now. Ohio State was the only game in which we were not competitive. All these years later under Wilson, we still are letting games get away. I know Lagow wasn’t responsible for many of Saturday’s turnovers, and I know he has a big arm, but he missed a lot of open guys. What’s the point of having a big arm if you can’t hit your receivers? And there aren’t a whole lot of QBs in FBS with more picks. Maybe it’s time to give Diamont a chance. With him behind center, another dimension is added to the offense — the QB running.

  4. Does CKWs tenure at IU hinge on the Purdue game? Lucky him, if it does, I suppose. If we win we’ll go to a bowl game again. That might be enough to save his job. I think everyone expected a lot more.

  5. At this point there isn’t much to lose by not playing Diamont or King. I’d have Lagow play against Purdue to be safe, but Michigan appears to be out of reach anyway.

    I do agree that Wilson is a fool for leaving points on the board. Maybe go for it if your lead is decent, but makes no sense with close games or at least potentially winnable games.

  6. What this season could have been with wins over PSU, NU, and Nebraska. This loss was especially bad because the way the defense played through the first three quarters. PSU’s high flying offense and one of the top RBs in the country couldn’t overcome our defensive front most of the day. Last year’s team needed a defense to have a great season and this year needs a better offense to have a great season. Can Coach Wilson get both sides of the ball together in a season. If he does then we will have a team to be excited about.

  7. Lagow played a good game against PSU. Not perfect, but much better. But Wilson’s teams just continue to make too many mistakes. Maybe too many inexperienced players on the field? Maybe a lack of attention to detail. Five fumbles and a clueless punt return coverage gift-wrapped two touchdowns for PSU, and that was the difference. You can’t make those mistakes and beat well-coached teams like PSU, NE, NU, etc. And let’s be honest, Wilson makes some really bad decisions that cost his team points and momentum. 20% conversion rate on 4th downs? Numerous times when he refused the field goal and got stuffed for no points. Hideous special teams play. Does he not understand that he’s handing the momentum to the other team when his offense fails to convert? He stubbornly keeps making these decisions as if he’s coaching in his first year with no expectations and nothing to lose.

  8. Finally got a comment to post. Been 3 days and I still don’t know what caused the problem. Noticed Geoff said he had trouble posting also the other day.

  9. I agree with these comments. It may well be that we are just too inexperienced but I’m not sure our HC and OC are on the same page. I think we have the talent and depth to compete and win at this level and I am perplexed as to why we drop these games. As a trivial aside, I think we need to take a more mature look at our uniforms that seem to change every game and typically not for the better. If one looks at our competition, most of the schools have a color scheme and style from which they vary only modestly…by contrast, we seem to adopt the “emporer”s new clothes every week…not sure this isn’t an expensive distraction about which the time, effort and cost might not be better channeled into the details that win games.

  10. Good game against a top 10 team. Wilson in his press conference also said Allen and the D were positive about the 4th down decision. He gave major kudos to Hagan for the energy and tenacity displayed by the DL improving each game. Good to see Paige handling the holding again. I’m sure Gideon or a QB will be groomed for next years holding. Lagow hit 60% but I sure would like to see him get 65 to 70. That would provide the amount of cushion the offense needs against top 25 teams. Rushing game was fair behind a better performing OL but still misses Reed and Corsaro’s consistency. Still would not trade this OL for PSU’s and I’ll bet Barkley agrees. Hale and Patrick are now pushing hard for more playing time. They challenge DB’s every play. 5 fumbles is back breaking and am certain James and Paige feel like goats. I know longer have much enthusiasm for the Shaken ‘n’ Bacon offense as the OL just does not dominate enough to make it consistently viable against good squads.

  11. Well, I just composed a multiple paragraph post about football that apparently went to blog heaven. Won’t waste my time doing that again.

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