Hoosiers come up short against Penn State, 16-10

There was a pass rush. There were crucial 3rd down stops. There were pass breakups. And there was a late-game drive.

There was even a chance to win. But when all was said and done in Indiana’s 16-10 loss to Penn State, it was the inadequacies on the offensive line, the abundance of three-and-outs, and one heartbreaking deep pass play, that proved superior.

Never having beat the Nittany Lions, it’s tough to be completely disappointed in the Hoosiers’ effort against Joe Paterno and Co. in the coach’s 700th game at the school. The defense played tough for nearly four quarters, but the one slip-up, a 74-yard pass from Matt McGloin to Derek Moye, would prove to be the difference.

But in relief of injured quarterback Ed Wright-Baker, Dusty Kiel played a better-than-expected game, especially in the fourth quarter, as he led a last-ditch drive and brought the Hoosiers within a touchdown of victory. He couldn’t keep that up on the last drive, but his effort was nothing to scoff at.

Much of his inadequacies weren’t his fault, either, as the Indiana offensive line was manhandled by the bigger, stronger, and faster Penn State defensive line. They routinely pressured Kiel, forcing him to make quick decisions and throw tough passes. When he did get it off, his receivers didn’t do much to help, dropping six balls. Damarlo Belcher was especially disappointing, dropping two straight balls on key third downs.

Sure, there’s no such thing as moral victories. But the Hoosiers have something to build on after their loss to Penn State. They had a chance to win the game, and that’s more than many expected. Plus, no one knows (not even Wilson) who will start under center next week.

So what can we learn from this game? Well, there’s no doubting that the Hoosiers still have some fight in them.


  1. Proud of the boys today. They competed, and they hit. Wish they could get some reward. Hope its coming. DK showed some leadership I thought.

  2. I agree. They played better and had a chance to win in the last two minutes.

    Defensive improvement was huge. Much better tackling. Pass defense is still weak. Penn States QB’s are terrible!

    Unfortunately, the receivers failed to bring their focus today. I lost count of the good passes that were dropped by the receivers and the backs. I applaud Dusty for keeping his cool and focus in the face of so many dropped passes. Throw out Dusty’s stats today because the stats don’t record drops. And I liked his guts running the ball. He did well on a few runs. He’s faster than I thought he was.

    I watched Wilson on the sidelines. Never once did I see him act like a madman today. He seemed pretty positive and cool throughout the game. Kind of funny when an offensive player screwed up, Wilson points to him and makes the “come hear” motion with his index finger. The player comes over and then you see the look on Wilson’s face and you can just imagine that the player is having a very unpleasant experience. But it did not look like he was screaming and getting out of control, at least not today!

  3. Ryan, I like how you’re understanding our situation here. We don’t have the winning tradition, so for us, respect is huge. Yeah we want to win (everyone does), and we don’t rest on moral victories either. We want to be a respectable big Ten program. That’s how we judge our team right now. It mIght be hard for you to get, but your early writing shows you know the situation. Nicely done.

  4. Did it seem today v. PSU that the “up-tempo” offense acutally looked up-tempo, at least in the first half? In prior games the offense was no-huddle, but it seemed as if they took forever to get the play off. Today, I’d bet the time from spot to snap was much less than previous weeks. Was it due to a different QB?

  5. Some improvement on special teams:

    Net yds./kickoff IU-50, PSU-54.8

    Net yds./punt IU-34.5 PSU-32.4

    FOR THE SEASON, IU’s net punt average is 35.6, bad guys 35.5. Couldn’t find season stats for net kickoff yds. and too lazy to do it manually!

  6. IU lacks the “big play” offensively right now. They really needed Belcher and Wilson out there together. At least Bolser is making a catch or two(involved). Houston took advantage of his opportunity, just not enough to loosen up that passing game. Beating a dead horse here, but, D.Willis would have busted a nice run or two and made a difference.
    The receivers needed to be more agressive and go after the ball more. Another week for Kiel and his timing will be better. The defense more than did thier part. So, overall I think IU has improved as a team, they just need to improve in some phases and get healthy. This game was winnable today. Those young guys are showing why they are getting play time. I will try to stay patient with the O-line and I am encouraged by what I see.

  7. They did look a lot better, much more focused. Davis, the up-tempo looked a lot less ‘fidgety’. I wondered the same thing about the QB (not sure if it is clarity, cadence…but seemed like less hesitation, more focused, fewer ‘false starts’). It’s going to take a while, but the improvement is pretty clear. Defense looked like it actually wanted to hit the other guy.

  8. I have been really impressed with linebacker Jeff Thomas, number 53. He has been in on many plays and making hard hitting tackles. I was even more impressed when he showed integrity and accountability for the long TD pass breakdown.
    If the team takes his lead they WILL get better and win some games.

  9. ss222,
    You are correct. Thomas loves to lay the wood to people, and its a full load. I love it when running backs go backboard after the hit. The safeties too. Nothing dirty, just solid.

  10. It seems like Matt Perez has been demoted. He played pretty well the first 3 games and has played sparingly since. All due respect to Houston, but the offense looks better with him in there. They need to get him some room as they contiually plunge him right in to the stack. This guy has very good speed, even at his size.

    D’Angelo Roberts 41 187 4.6 33 1
    Stephen Houston 40 151 3.8 19 1
    Matt Perez 45 136 3.0 11 4

    Perez has more TD’s, other than that Huston and Roberts has out performed him. Roberts was hurt (I think) Saturday. Perez dropped a wide open pass on Saturday. If Roberts is healthy, from what I’ve watched, should be Roberts, Huston & Perez in that order. Huston and Perez are similar built backs, in both height and weight. Perez does appear to have more powerful legs for short yardage gains. Guess who plays depends on what is needed at that time.

  12. Mike P; to be fair, Houston dropped a perfect pass (it hit him in the hands) during the second half. A lot of IU’s players were dropping passes last Saturday. It looked to me as if they were looking down field before securing the football. Either that or some were hearing footsteps and afraid to get hit.

  13. I’ll have to watch the game again, I remember seeing Perez drop one, I did go to the rest room in the 2nd half during 1 series, I could have missed that one.

  14. No doubting the power of MP, 700lb. squat. Now after seeing these early games I think DR #1, SH #2 while MP fits best as lead back in the I and the ball carrier in short yardage and at the goal line. With his leg strength he could be a powerful blocker in the I to help compensate for the young line. But Roberts is the man and Houston is able. I like this trio very much as they give the run game lots of versatility. Hoping the OL grows up fast.

  15. HC, I agree. Perez is a throwback to the ‘I’ as a leading fullback or goal line tailback or offset in the power ‘I’. Out of the Spread or Pistol I just don’t see him as the best option. More of a situational back.
    Don’t take this as criticism of Perez. He may prove to be invaluable in those situations. That’s the guy that scores the touchdowns.

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