Penix’s dive for the pylon gives Hoosiers 36-35 OT win over No. 8 PSU

Before the Hoosiers embarked on the play of their lives, a two-point conversion to beat No. 8 Penn State, running back Stevie Scott shared a few words with quarterback Michael Penix Jr. 

“Bro, if you gotta run it, run it in,” Scott told his teammate. “Don’t be scared to run.”

It was the kind of moment that reveals character. Down 35-34, the game on the line. And in that moment, Indiana’s unflappable quarterback wasn’t going to be scared. Not for a second.

Scott, as he saw Penix’s angular frame reach toward the pylon on a scramble, had no doubts. Not for a second.

“As soon as I saw that pylon go down, I knew what time it was,” Scott said. “I knew it was in there.”

It was a moment of intense celebration after a 36-35 victory at Memorial Stadium, as the Hoosiers (1-0, 1-0 Big Ten) opened their 2020 season with the program’s first win over a top 10 opponent since 1987. On a day where Penix was anything but sharp, completing 11 of his first 25 passes, the dynamic lefty came to the rescue when it mattered most.

Down 28-20 with 1:42 left, Penix was inspired. In those finals seconds of regulation and overtime, he completed 8-of-9 for 91 yards. He scored two touchdowns, one rushing, one passing. He ran in both two-point conversion tries.

In a game where the Hoosier defense had saved the offense so many times, Penix was the savior in the end, his 6-foot-3 frame just barely reaching the pylon, his legs just barely levitating above the turf in Bloomington.

“In my mind, I scored. I knew it was a touchdown as soon as I did it,” Penix said. “I told the team when they were reviewing it, I said, ‘Hey, it’s a touchdown. It’s a touchdown.’”

After the game, IU coach Tom Allen admitted it wasn’t his team’s best effort. The offense could have played better. The defense faltered late, but little more could have been expected of the unit after all of the third- and fourth-down stops it had made — after it kept the Hoosiers ahead 17-7 at half, and 20-14 late in the fourth, it was only a matter of time before Sean Clifford hit Jahan Dotson with a 60-yard bomb like he did with 2:30 left.

After the Dotson touchdown, and after a four-and-out from IU’s offense put PSU on the doorstep again, the Hoosiers just let the Lions score on a 14-yard touchdown run. They put the ball back in the hands of the offense, which Allen continued to have faith in.

“If there’s any amount of time left on that clock, our guys know,” Allen said. “If we’ve got the ball and we’ve got Michael Penix, we’ve got a chance.”

Before the game, Allen said he knew. He believed the Hoosiers would win the game. But so many times before, they just haven’t been able to pull it off. Last year at PSU, IU’s defense couldn’t hold the Lions back on the ground, folding under the pressure of a nine-minute drive to basically seal the game. This time around, they put the Hoosiers in position to win in the first place.

IU’s defense had three takeaways, including interceptions by Jamar Johnson and Jaylin Williams. The latter came with the Nittany Lions leading 7-0, putting the Hoosiers in position for a 34-yard field goal from Charles Campbell early in the second quarter.

The defense forced another stop, and a 21-yard punt return by Reese Taylor started the Hoosiers at their own 38. Penix hit Ty Fryfogle for a 21-yard gain on a back-shoulder throw, and a 15-yard rush by Scott kept IU rolling. Scott eventually rolled in for a 14-yard touchdown run to take a 10-7 lead.

It wouldn’t be long until Scott revisited the end zone, as Lamont Wade fumbled with the kickoff and Taylor came flying in to stop him at the 5. The IU defense picked up from there, forcing Sean Clifford into a throw on third-and-10 that was well long and into the hands of IU safety Jamar Johnson.

A two-yard run from Scott gave IU a 17-7 edge with 7:06 remaining in the second half.

Johnson also forced a fumble, swooping in on a Lions rush by backup quarterback Will Levis, stealing the ball and an opportunity for the Lions to score. Unfortunately, the Hoosiers gave the ball back on a fumble with two seconds left, but Jake Pinegar’s 25-yard field goal with no time remaining doinked off the upright.

IU’s defense bent, but it took a while for it to break. Clifford took the Lions all the way down to the IU 15 in the third quarter, but an offensive interference penalty bumped them back to the 30. Two incomplete passes, including a hard shot by Williams on Clifford on a cornerback blitz, set up a 47-yard attempt.

Pinegar, again, was no good, this time wide left.

Clifford’s legs gave the Lions a boost, as he scampered 35 yards for a touchdown to cut the Hoosiers’ advantage to 17-14 heading into the fourth quarter. Campbell would hit a 48-yard field goal to push the lead back to 20-14 with 13:18 left.

IU’s defense did hold its ground a few more times as the offense continued to sputter. A sack from Devon Matthews on third down forced a punt. A tackle by linebacker Cam Jones on a fourth-and-1 at the IU 25 kept the Lions out of the end zone, again.

If only tight end Peyton Hendershot, wide-open on a third-and-4, had hauled in a perfect pass for a first down, maybe Penix’s late drive wouldn’t have been necessary. Maybe overtime would have never came. But it did. And the Hoosier offense finally woke up.

“Since I’ve been here, we’ve found ways to lose these types of games,” Allen said. “This game, we found a way to win.”

Penix, who finished 19-of-36 for 170 yards, came alive.

IU was still outgained, 488 yards to 211, on the day. PSU had 27 first downs to IU’s 16.

But the Hoosiers earned the only digit that matters: They are 1-0.

In the moment that mattered most, Penix reached the pylon.

“You know what they say,” Scott said. “Big-time players make big-time plays.”

44 comments

  1. Sheridan needs to do some serious introspection because his offense was terrible. His calls were unimaginative and predictable. Given PSU’s turnovers and missed FGs, this game should not have been close. Penix did not throw the ball well for most of the game, but he rallied late to give IU the win, and that showed great leadership.

    Bottom line is that for decades, IU has found ways to lose games like this one, but today we found a way to win in spite of some ugly play. Go Hoosiers!

    1. PO, Agreed! My friends that called were ‘surprised’ that I wasn’t elated. Relieved and surprised is more like it. We’re glad they didn’t lose,…miraculously, but it shouldn’t have gotten to that point. Similar to the end of the Volunteer game. Can’t get first downs, mistakes on special teams,..etc etc. The (lack of) possession numbers tell the story. Terrible play calls. Why is Sampson James in the game for only 2 plays? The entire offense ( and yes it was, offensive). Sheridan’s new fave song must be “Three and Out”. If any group deserves a ‘game ball’,..it’s the defense that was out there for 40 MINUTES. It was so irritating that after the last 4 and out and less than 2 minutes on the clock,..I switched it,..not able to bear consoling words from James Franklin. Sheridan: Spend your next few days with some creative, time consuming run plays. RTDB!!!

    2. IU is NOT a “3 yards and a cloud of dust” offense! We are a “drop your attention for one play and you lose” offense. Do not run the ball on first down up the middle. Throw the ball! Then set up the run. It was a first game. PSU made some big mental errors, the score at the end when going down at the 1 wins the game the biggest. But the grit, determination, the magic of Penix were fantastic! This could be a great season. But nothing is “given”. You have to earn it every play! Go IU!

  2. IU was fortunate that the call on the field was “good” and not “no good”. Because either way it wasn’t getting overturned.

      1. I watched all of the “replays” and Penix did score! But it was so close that whatever the call was on the field was going to “stand”.

        1. There was no conclusive camera angle that showed he scored. Fortunately, the call was “good”, so compelling proof needed to be offered that showed he didn’t score (which didn’t exist, either, thankfully). The initial call, whatever it was, was never going to be overturned.

          1. I believe that there was one camera angle that did show the score as good. But it was so close that many could claim that it was no good.

          2. In an impossible paralleling position of preordained propulsion performance art, Penix perfectly placed the pigskin’s pointy protrusion into the pylon. The rest is history.

  3. Was on Twitter earlier and some Purdue fans were happy to beat Iowa and I quote “one of the hardest teams on their schedule”. Some IU fan replied that they wished one of IU’s hardest games was Iowa. Nebraska got some nice karma today. They wanted to play so bad that the Big Ten rewarded them with OSU first game. Fields looked really good. I almost think he is a better passer than Lawrence.

  4. It was nice to come away with a victory by making plays when under pressure that led to winning the game. This is far different than previous teams IU has had that broke our hearts time and again. Wil this team always pull out games this year the way the 1967 did, we can only hope so.

    PO, I agree that coach Sheridan needs to channel coach DeBoer more as he seemed to be back to calling plays out of a hat. Coach DeBoer called plays in series letting one play lead to another and that works better than a hit and miss approach. I also hope coach Wommack comes to realize this defense can play with very good B1G offenses without constant stunts to try and create problems. He put IU’s defense in a bind too many times with stunts to anticipate offensive plays. How often will you send ILB that never get to the QB opening up runs for the QB etc.

    Overall it was a good game for the Hoosiers and we can hope for better games in the future.

  5. Correct. The last call wasn’t going to be overturned. So used to getting the short end on the calls when playing “the big boys.” So nice to get one.

    Not a clean game for either team. But a huge win. Congrats to Coach Allen and the team.

  6. But, upon review, Hendershot’s catch at the goal line looked like it broke the plane as he twisted before coming down just short…
    The review guy in NY (or wherever) told the announcers he thought it should be overturned and called a TD….It was not called a TD and stayed as originally called. So, the final pylon play was sort of an equalizer. Penn State already had their gimme…when the refs stayed with the shy of goal line call on Hendershot’s catch.

  7. The officials took away an IU turnover and added a penalty on the first review. The officials ignored a clear targeting penalty to call a fumble on Stevie Scott on the second review. I thought for sure they would overturn Penix’s game winning 2 point conversation on the last review. Probably as unbelievable as IU beating a Top 10 team for the first time in more than 30 years, IU got a favorable call from an official against a Big Ten Blue Blood. The defense was very good- it doesn’t show on the scoreboard, but their defense kept the game close. So far, the best way to slow Penix and Hendershot down is a Nick Sheridan offense. And Tom Allan has to already be considered one of the best IU Football head coaches of all time.

  8. When TA leads IU to some bowl victories against good teams, then we can start talking about him being the best IU FB coach of all time. And remember, Mallory beat MI and OSU in the same season. If TA ever does that, I’ll consider him IU’s best ever.

    As for the final play of the game, while watching the “experts” on BTN, ESPN, ABC, etc., the conclusions are mixed. You’re getting as many “yes he dids” as you are “no he didn’ts.” But the only thing that matters is that today’s game is in the books as a win for IU.

    Ramsey looked real good for NW, but Maryland is terrible. They have 40 freshman on the roster, so he was not challenged.

  9. We just beat the #8 team in the country, and almost everyone on this board feels they have a far better grasp as to what the IU coaches should have done than the coaches themselves.
    Well let me be clear on my view. I thought the coaches did a FINE job. When was the last time ANY IU coaching staff beat a top ten team? That’s right, 1987. A third of a century ago. How about credit for a job well done instead of the constant nit-picking that has become the hallmark of IU fans?

    1. Well said NatHillIV. For game 1 of the season the team was well prepared and played a relatively clean game. The defense was on the field for 40 minutes and allowed only a hand full of chunk plays. Well done. My only issues with the coaching staff is not taking a knee to close the first half ( fumble, chip shot FG attempt) and the squib kick call. Both could have cost IU the game but the football gods favored the Hoosier on this day. It’s a W in the book. Next.

      1. scwartzie, I believe that the squib was not a coaching call. Things happen with college kickers from time to time! 🙂

  10. A day later and with some thinking about the game I have come up with some thoughts:

    a PSU defense that was thought to be good enough to go to the play-off this year
    last year DeBoer’s play calling didn’t go well against Michigan or OSU
    our DL did well against PSU’s OL thought to be one of the best in the country
    IU got pressure on the QB forcing take aways by the DBs

    IU was very good in the red zone on offense
    Our OL did played well most of the game
    Scott looked better with his increased speed and powered through tackles
    when the game was on the line our offense made plays in a short time
    our QB made the plays to win the game at the end
    young receivers looked like they are ready to make the offense better

    the LS, FG kicker, and punter looked good
    coverage teams looked good
    Taylor could make the punt return a dangerous team for our opponents once again

    It is great to have a team that has players that can make plays in a game to win more games
    things don’t get much easier as Rutgers is much better this year
    IU needs to clean up things and improve against Rutgers
    IU now leads the B1G at 1-0

    1. Over two to one advantage in total yards, time of possession, over five to one in rush yards, a healthy advantage in passing yards. We couldn’t run the ball and had huge trouble in pass protection. It was so bad that we had to keep one our best receivers out of the pattern for pass pro.

      PSU beat itself with penalties, turnovers and special teams gaffes. They swallowed the bait of scoring when merely getting a first down would’ve ended the game. And a close call went against them at the end. It was a great win, but there’s no need to paint an inaccurate picture of what really occurred.

      1. Stats do not a football game make, but they don’t lie, either. Especially 41 yds., rushing cf. 250 yds. (4.8.carry) for PSU. Watched a good portion of the RU-MSU game one game does not a season make, either, but Rutgers no longer appear to be the Scarlet Naughts. But absolutely the right call to go for the win. Even though the ball was out of bounds.

    2. v13, I think you’re leaning in the right direction. The stats got out of wack early. When needed IU made things happen to stay in the game and playmakers made plays to win the game. When Penix knocked off a little rust after the 2 straight sacks the OL performed better. I expect the start of the RU game to mirror the end of PSU game. When was the last time IUFB started off a season 2-0 with both wins being B1G?

  11. “…No need to paint an inaccurate picture of what really occurred.” Time to up your meds dude- you are one severely depressed person. V13- great point about IU’s DL. They won the line of scrimmage. Demarcus Elliott was honorable mention All Big Ten last year. Now he is second string because Sio Nofoagatoto’a has come on so strong. Also, how many times has IU lost to a ranked team when the ranked team wasn’t playing their best? We’ve all seen it happen for years. IU found a way to win. Last year, fans on this site were saying IU’s 8 wins were somehow illegitimate because the teams they beat had losing recorders. Now they are saying this win is illegitimate because Penn State didn’t play their best. IU KEEPS WINNING! IU JUST BEAT ONE OF THE BEST TEAMS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL! ENJOY IT!

    1. 123, you re right about the negative poster that responds to my post all the time to disagree. The negative posters about last year and BD thinks this win is the other teams fault. IU has lost plenty of games when the other team didn’t play their best games against IU and we still lost. Now we have some players that make plays to win games and I am over joyed to watch them knowing it isn’t a far gone conclusion to think they can win in the end. Have a season like the PSU game and recruiting will explode for IU and help them stay capable of beating the big boys at least every now and then.

      PSU was thought to be able to challenge OSU this year and IU beat them and controlled a good part of the game even if some don’t think so. A side note IU needs Sampson James in the game more often. I expect IU’s offense will improve and change as the season rolls on.

      1. Not disappointed with the win at all but the observations you posted were largely inaccurate and not at all how the game was actually played. I realize you’re a big fan, as am I, so it’s all good.

      2. It’s a Sunday afternoon of gridiron giddiness. V-13 sounds like the zit-faced teenager outcast that actually got a date to the football homecoming dance. Penn State has Happy Valley….IU now has Happy Volcano experiencing a rather early eruption.

        In other news, Penn State was so bad yesterday that they put up a ‘GoFumble Me’ page today.

  12. Speaking of the Big10 Network, I believe I heard their esteemed group of roundtable experts say IU Football had a decades-long streak of 1-72 against Penn State, Michigan and OSU collectively until yesterday’s win.
    It had been 7 years since that only win in 73 games….and that lone win was against Penn State ( a Penn State team still suffering from the consequences of scholarship gutting, sanctions, etc due to ‘Lysol Jerry’).

    Now the good news….We only need 71 more collective victories against Michigan, OSU and Penn State to get back to .500 against the top 3 teams from the Big10 East.
    Assuming we went undefeated against PSU, OSU and Michigan multiple seasons forward, it should only take about 25 years to get back to .500 against the 3 elites of the B-10 East. If we only win 2/3 of the games against the top 3 of the B-10 East, maybe 100 years to get back to .500 overall…?

    Bottom Line: We have built quite the landfill of losses over the decades against quality teams. Yesterday was one game in the last 73 we didn’t truck to the same landfill. Most sports analysts and pundits under payrolls still, understandably, have a bit of a giggle and snicker sneaking out the corner of their mouths on live cameras when a few say IU Football is finally building respectability in football. The stench over Memorial for the decades of football follies is a landfill cloud that won’t evaporate because of one win against Penn State every seven years. Nonetheless, it was fun to finally put ONE in the win column instead of into the 100 square miles of the largest Glad bag graveyard landfill of losses known to football. This could be the beginning of a great recycling program.

  13. My gosh…The size of that offensive line on Michigan. Wow.
    I’m gonna go way out on a limb…Michigan beats OSU this year.
    That offensive line looks bigger than most NFL teams…..This could be Harbaugh’s breakout year. He’s even shed the khaki pants.

    I’m picking Michigan as conference champs and national champs….solely on the front line. My goodness….I think that O-line could lay flat together and pave a street.

  14. I guess my assessment is somewhere between BD and V13. I’m thrilled with the win and I commend TA and staff for having the team mentally prepared to fight to the end. I also give TA great credit for making the call to go for the two-point conversion at the end. It’s a big win, especially given how many new coaches IU has on the staff. But after watching most of the other Big Ten games (on the BTN 60 minute summary shows) this morning, I have too say there is reason to be concerned about IU’s Offensive line; it needs a lot of work. And while Penix came through in the end, he and his receivers did not play well for most of the game (bad throws and dropped passes). Lastly, we must admit that IU had a lot of luck yesterday. Three missed FGs, three PSU turnovers, and a brain-dead decision to cross the goal line at the end of regulation were all major contributing factors to IU’s win. That’s just the truth.

    Like every other aspect of life, what matters is what the team does going forward. If the players celebrate this win too long or don’t acknowledge and work to correct their flaws, Rutgers will beat us. If the players are humble and recognize their mistakes, and they work hard to improve this week, IU FB could be off to a special season.

    1. My comments are based on what was expected from PSU’s team and how IU did against them. I wasn’t making comments about the way the game went but what was expected from PSU’s units. Their OL being one of the top in the B1G, defensive front that was supposed to be one of the top defenses fronts and improved secondary.

  15. Before you give BD any more grief for his comments, I suggest you go to The Daily Hoosier and read Mike Schumann’s article, “IU football: Indiana vs. Penn State — The Report Card.” Schumann’s assessment of IU’s performance makes BD’s comment seem mild in comparison. It’s tough to argue with Schumann’s fact-based conclusions.

  16. Give me a break…..

    Where are the props for Penix? Have we witnessed such moxie from an IU quarterback…..?……ever? I was also very impressed with our running backs.
    Of course, there will always be the history and the snickers when trying to claim IU actually has a football program.

    But Penix is the game-changer never before seen in a Hoosier uniform. I don’t think we can underestimate what yesterday did for his confidence and the team’s belief. He made every throw when he had to. He placed the ball into openings which had zero margin for error. The last drives of regulation and OT were beyond stellar.

    I’ve been one of the greatest cynics of IU Football for many years on Scoop.
    Much of that cynicism was due to never having a true game-changer under center. Penix changes things, folks. Best qb in a Hoosier uniform for decades…I don’t get why many aren’t recognizing his putting yesterday on his shoulders and actually bringing it home. That never happens at IU Football. Is is a race thing? Is that why Penix isn’t getting the recognition from columnists and commenters? I’m rather astounded ….This is a top quarterback in a Hoosier uniform. And anyone placing Ramsey into the same league is a damn fool. Period.

    1. Great replay H4H and glad to have you back to step up. I agree Penix is a game changer and will get better every week like he did in the final drive. I agree Penix is one of the top QBs in Hoosier uniform.

    2. Harvard- Hope you are doing well, glad to see you still here!

      Ranked #17…I had to do a double-take. I knew they’d eventually take down a top 10 team, just didn’t think it would take almost 5 decades since the last time.

      1. SEAHAWK BELUGA!!!!!! Still pluggin’ along but sure miss you. Hope you and your family are doing well, too. Might be a fun Hoosier football season…..Come on back for awhile. How’s your son doing?
        Getting ready to make a simple pasta dish w/red peppers, garlic, pepper flakes, Parm Reggiano and Kalamata olives dish…Maybe a grilled small steak on the side?

        And….DA BEARS!

  17. Congrats to IU football ..wonderful and exceptional win!!! On that note; today 10/25/20 HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHOUT OUT to COACH KNIGHT!!!!!

  18. I just watched T.A.’s after-game press conference and was very encouraged by his comments. First of all, he said, “Really didn’t play that well as a team.” Since that’s true, it is very important that he recognizes that there’s lots of room for improvement. Secondly, he was acutely aware of what Rutgers did on the road to MSU, so I don’t think he’s going to allow his players to stay too excited about yesterday’s win for very long. He said, “we get 24 hours to celebrate, then we go back to work.” I really appreciate T.A.’s combination of enthusiasm and realism, the true affection he has for his players and the discipline he applies. This man is on a mission and he is fully aware of what it’s going to take to achieve it. We’ve got ourselves a really good FB coach.

  19. That’s just ‘coach speak’…..Of course he’s going to act low-key now.
    The most critical thing Allen did was to give up trying to manage the defense while performing as a head coach.
    The defensive coordinator and the current talent under center probably make Allen look a hell of a lot better.
    Cody Zeller and some quality assistants did that for Tom Crean.

    You’re only as good as your delegating and ….your talent. Unlike basketball, decision making and coaching is spread around a lot more in football. I really like the demeanor of the defensive coordinator. How can you not like a guy who wears powder blue in a sea of red?
    Everything still hinges on Penix. Penix stays healthy and it could turn out to be quite the season….albeit shortened and super challenging.

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