Indiana falls to Penn State, 45-22 as postseason hopes evaporate

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State senior quarterback Matt McGloin threw for 395 yards and four touchdowns and sophomore wide receiver Allen Robinson caught 10 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns to lead Penn State to a 45-22 win over Indiana on Saturday in front of 90,358 at Beaver Stadium, officially eliminating the Hoosiers from bowl contention.

Indiana fell to 4-7 overall, 2-5 in the Big Ten. The seventh defeat means the Hoosiers will fail to reach a bowl game for the fifth straight season. They have only been to one game since 1993.

“That’s very disappointing,” junior safety Greg Heban said. “Not just personally but for all the seniors that have been here working all four years to get the bowl game. It’s disappointing for the staff as well. They put so much time and effort into trying to get us where we need to be. That’s how important those non-conference games are at the end of the season. … Those are the ones you have to get. If we had won against Ball State and Navy we’d be playing for a bowl game.”

This one got away from the Hoosiers on both sides of the ball. Penn State didn’t demolish the Hoosiers in quite the same fashion that Wisconsin did a week ago, but the Nittany Lions still posted 546 yards of total offense. McGloin was on point and the Hoosiers had no answer for Robinson, but the Lions were also able to move the ball on the ground. Their 151 rushing yards weren’t even a third of the 546 Wisconsin hung on the Hoosiers a week ago, but it still made the pass game more effective. Sophomore running back Zach Zwinak rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown and fullback Michael Zordich rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries.

Indiana’s defensive performance was better than it had been against Wisconsin, but the Hoosiers still missed a number of tackles at critical times. Robinson could have been stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage on a bubble screen midway through the second quarter, but instead juked a number of would-be Indiana tacklers for a 53-yard touchdown.

“They were able to swing a couple of big plays, big momentum plays,” linebacker Griffen Dahlstrom said. “Long downs. We need to get off the field. We need to do a better job of making those plays as players, keeping our feet hot, myself included, we just gotta make the plays.”

Said IU coach Kevin Wilson: “We make some good plays at the line of scrimmage. But I think as we look at some things, our support with linebackers and secondary, we just lose leverage on the ball and give up some plays. … We gotta keep working defensively. We are not at a point right now where we’re going to play shutdown defense, but we gotta keep finding ways to play it better as we move forward. That’s for sure. That’s two weeks in a row.”

The Hoosiers also left the game believing they’d missed a number of offensive opportunities. Sophomore quarterback Cameron Coffman threw for 454 yards, the second-highest single-game total ever by an Indiana passer and just 26 yards short of Ben Chappell’s record of 480. He threw for two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions and could attribute much of his yards to volume of passes. He was 33-for-59 on the day and missed a number of wide-open passes at critical junctures.

“I thought he left a bunch,” Wilson said. “We’re gonna keep putting the ball in his hands. He’s gotta make some plays in some tight windows, tight throws. A couple of third down throws, he’s throwing past bubbles. He’s throwing some passes he shouldn’t. To move the chains, it hurt us on a couple of those when we got to the 40. A couple of times, we had the combination of run and throw and he took a throw that wasn’t there. It’s give and take, sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re wrong.”

Sophomore wide receiver Shane Wynn caught 12 passes for 108 yards and tight end Ted Bolser and Stephen Houston each had touchdown receptions — Houston’s being a 79-yard catch and run off a screen pass. However, the Hoosiers ran for just 24 yards on 26 carries, failing to reach 100 yards on the ground for a third straight week.

That was one of the biggest reasons, Wilson said, that the Hoosiers scored just two touchdowns in nine trips into Penn State territory and four trips into the red zone.

“One of the best ways to be a good scoring zone teams is when you run the ball,” Wilson said. “The field gets compressed. The zones are tighter, the windows are tighter. You gotta run the ball, and we run the ball for (24) yards. We gotta keep working to get a run game going. We like to throw it some, but we want some balance. Earlier the year, the more balance we had the better we were. When you don’t run it well and you don’t play good defense. It’s tough to win. That’s the main reason we’re on the wrong side of the ledger today.”

The Hoosiers were actually up 10-7 in the second quarter thanks to a 26-yard field goal by kicker Mitch Ewald and a 2-yard touchdown pass from Coffman to Bolser, but the 53-yard touchdown pass from McGloin to Robinson put the Lions up for good. Indiana answered with a 44-yard field goal to make it 14-13, but Robinson caught a 10-yard touchdown pass with 2:25 to go in the half and an interception by Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges set up a 16-yard touchdown run by Zwinak to make it 28-13 at halftime.

Indiana answered early in the second half with Houston’s 79-yard touchdown catch and had a chance to put more pressure on the Nittany Lions. After missing the extra point on Houston’s touchdown, Ewald recovered his own onside kick, but the Hoosiers’ drive stalled and Ewald missed a 55-yard field goal attempt. The Hoosiers recovered a fumble by Zwinak and Ewald then hit a 46-yard field goal, but getting just three points from that exchange cost the Hoosiers needed momentum.

“One of our big philosophies is we’re not going to kick field goals, we’re going to score touchdowns,” junior wide receiver Kofi Hughes said. “That’s something we didn’t do today. … We weren’t scoring touchdowns. We left a lot of big plays out there. We shot ourselves in the foot with a couple of things. The defense was doing their thing and we really could’ve capitalized on them early. I think that would’ve changed the outcome of the game and probably the second half.”

The Nittany Lions marched 75 yards on nine plays on the ensuing drive and scored on a 1-yard run by Zwinak. They added a Zordich touchdown on the next drive to go up 42-22 and then tacked on a 28-yard field goal by Ficken for the final margin.

The Hoosiers season is now down to one game, but Wilson said the Hoosiers take more than solace in the fact that it’s a game that means something regardless of the records of the teams involved. Indiana ends its season against Purdue next week for the Old Oaken Bucket.

“We don’t like to lose bowl eligibility because of the season, the way we didn’t manage or call and execute and get our guys ready to win some games,” Wilson said. “That being said, we are lucky to be at a school that has a great rival. A lot of schools don’t have that.”

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson

AUDIO: Greg Heban

AUDIO: Griffen Dahlstrom

AUDIO: Kofi Hughes

AUDIO: Cam Coffman


  1. Unbelievable how many drives stalled because Coffman couldn’t hit the wide open WR and/or throw a more catchable ball. IU should have had at least 3 more TDs, and been able to keep PSU’s Offense off the field for much, much longer…

    Also, what ever happened to LB Jacarri Alexander? He seemed to have the speed and toughness IU needs on the outside, but I haven’t even seen him on the field the past few games.

  2. Well, the D continues to be an epic fail. You look good one play then turn around, miss four tackles, and let them rip off a 40 yard gain.

    The offense would have had to be near flawless to have any hope, but they were far from it. As much yardage as we put up through the air, it’s underwhelming to only put up 22. Every chance to turn momentum they failed to punch it in. Coffman’s inaccuracy was a major factor.

  3. I think the qb play is good, cam hits the difficult passes, maybe just rushes the easy passes. But this 19 years old kid did great 400 plus yds is very impressive.
    And the d is in the right place, just can’t finish. I think we are close…… Let get pu next week!

  4. I don’t know if we’re CLOSE, but I think we’re CLOSER. I don’t deny there has been some positive progress this season.

    However, despite the good recruiting news, the defense still has some significant challenges to overcome to get us where we need to be consistently. I’m talking longer term here.

    That said, a win vs PU would be a huge momentum boost for our continued development. At least it appears POSSIBLE.

  5. “I don’t know if we’re CLOSE, but I think we’re CLOSER.”

    D-BONE, very good way to express it. We are absolutely getting better. I’m pretty sure we have the youngest team in the FBS with very few seniors and not many juniors. We are looking at the possibilities of some real big dogs signing. No doubt we are desperate for some big athletic defenders.

    It’s still coming in fits and spurts, but seriously, don’t most of you guys thinks that, at kickoff, ‘If we play well we can win this game’, instead of ‘Please don’t let it get ugly’?

    We are discussing who is better, the freshman or the sophomore QB, who were never expected to play but can put up 400 yards on ‘a bad day’.

    It’s better than I expected, especially after seeing Tre play then losing him.

  6. D-Bone, your posts #2 and #5 were excellent comments. From my vantage point, they were right on target!

    It’s not an automatic that IU’s defense is going to improve next year. We lose our two best players to graduation. Talented freshman and JC transfers are not going to come in and be better than Black and Repog were this year. IU is still going to have too many defenders that are undersized. Wilson will need to bring in a lot of bigger and better athletes on defense in order to produce better performance in 2013. Yes, the returners should be better with another year of physical maturity and experience, but I agree with D-Bone in that it may not be enough.

    As for Coffman, forget the 420+ yards passing yesterday, when you chuck it over 50 times to receivers as talented as IU’s receivers, you should have a lot of yards. And this year’s PSU’s defense is not what it used to be. Coffman missed a lot of wide-open receivers, on simple passes, and he often missed them in the most critical situations, to keep drives alive or score touchdowns. The more important the play, the less likely Coffman was to throw on target. He did some good things yesterday, but his performance seemed more erratic as the game went on.

  7. Forget our Soph. QB established 59 passing attempts as 2nd most all time at IU + 33 completions 4th most all time along with 454 passing yards 2nd most all time, not to mention our 5th yr. center sails a snap over the QB’s head or our Jr. kicker misses a PAT and a possible 55 yarder while IU’s leading rusher yesterday totaled 28 yd.

  8. D-Bone great comment. Actually, the heart of the names of the posters who seem to always be there and watching the seed sprout is in this thread. Even Podunker,(not attacking him…just sort of smiling at his nearly eternal ‘but we could be very close to things getting worse, even if they are good’.

    Reminds me of what someone once told me was the definition of a Baptist…the fear that someone, somewhere is having a good time. The day the Hoosiers have to go to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl, Podunker will be worried that the runway at Monroe County airport may not be large enough to handle a Boeing 787 and that forcing the team to take the bus ride to Indy Airport will somehow become the focus of the team’s thinking prior to kick-off and result in someone running the kick-off back on us…Because he loves us. We all love you Po (p.s. I’ll try to get off the computer without shutting it on my hand)

    It’s been a good season…I feel we are at the beginning of IU’s real football program.

  9. Losing seasons are never “good seasons,” Tsao. I’d say it has been a better season with reason for optimism next year.

    I don’t have the expertise to determine if Wilson’s defensive cupboard was simply that empty when he arrived, or if the co-defenisve coordinator model is not working, or if Wilson’s offensive focus is a problem (as another poster suggested), but IU’s defense is still terrible and it needs to get a lot better in a hurry.

    Tsao, a very astute comment. Given IU football’s thin foundation, lack of tradition, and below average budgets (for football), things are always very close to back-sliding. In the 60’s we hire a great coach who leads us to a Rose Bowl in his third year and shortly thereafter, a boycott deletes all the momentum he had built. Fast forward; we hire a promising young coach, he coaches for one year and then bolts to the NFL. Mallory rebuilds the program and leads us to numerous bowls and the morons in administration fire him in the most unprofessional way possible. We fire a coach after three years because he was not warm and fuzzy with the athletic department staff. Then, we hire a great coach who sees the IU job as his dream job, and just when he’s turning things around, we lose him to brain cancer. Yep, as always, IU football “could be very close to things getting worse, even if they are good.”

  10. Losing seasons are good seasons if recruits are noticing improvement but still recognize their talent can make a difference. That certainly is happening.

    The co-coordinator model is the reason the D has improved. They have made what talent they have tougher. It cannot get better in a hurry. It will get incrementally better every season as new talent matures. Quick fixes rob from somewhere. Ask Auburn, Illinois, Tennesse and UCLA.

  11. And Clarion of course. By the way, the snap was not over your hero’s head. It was high, but he should have caught it. 59 attempts, he better throw for some yards. He led (and I use that term in the loosest was possible) the Hoosiers to two touchdowns. That’s the only stat that matters.

  12. In fact you use it so loose you do not mention the 3 FG’s. As I would expect.

    Your view as usual is from the quarter full glass perspective.

  13. Podunker, you may actually be right in that ‘something’ always seems to happen to tear it all down. In many cases it is not even internal to the program. I’m arguing that sometimes it seems we expect things to fall apart and, therefore, they do. The best example of how ‘successful’ we got at ‘inventing’ failures comes from the the years of terrific football we got from Coach Mallory and the stupidity involved in not understanding the cyclical nature of ‘success’ and ‘failure’ in athletics.

    We have to ask, why didn’t fans didn’t simply rise up and defend Mallory. One word, ignorance.

    Not doing so allows the space where individuals agendas and confusion take over. More than anything it is what had contributed to the failure of IU football to sink its roots and succeed. And, darned near destroyed our legacy of great baskletball.

    I truly believe there is something different these days. The appointment of Fred Glass as Athletic Director and his empowerment to make the professional decisions, while limiting Trustees and other actors and other outside interests to a peripheral role. Believe it or not the Sampson scandal, the continued failure of (how many) football coaches, Knight’s firing and the cause of the instability, the influence peddling and the power brokerage competition among top administrators wanting to play ‘Boss’ nearly collapsed IU athletics. Luckily, their failure washed away a number of these characters whose own ambitions seemed to be superimposed on the Hoosiers.

    And, in their ignorance they created the circumstances, eliminated the influence peddling and allowed the circumstances to install a professional athletic administration and, in turn, reset the objectives and strategies for success.

    I believe the first step wand most important step was the naming of and empowering Fred Glass (I don’t even know the man- like you I just read and follow everything going on… with deep interest)to run athletics, professionally. Glass, has brought a vision, specified clear goals, stabilized the department, professionalized its operation and given a clear understanding of the link between succeeding athletically, institutional accountability and the growth of the University’s reputation.
    program) are well run; leaving us as beneficiaries.

    The rebuilding of the collapsed basketball program; and the evolution of Coach Wilson’s program, from his hiring and how it was conducted, to how he confronted the crisis of the program and the ‘losing culture’ will some day be a case study that will be a source of pride for us who lived it as it evolved.

    All based on one issue; leadership and the proper distribution of power among the parts.

    That Podunker is why I believe the blog is the proper place for us to entertain ourselves. I sincerely hope none of the actors; Glass, CKW or CTC read it…except when they want a good laugh.

    Always great to share, debate (and argue) with you. You are a great IU Man.

  14. Dunbar, a question. I once had to deal with an athlete named Dunbar. One of the fastest kids I ever saw (and I had seen a bunch of fast kids including Larry Highbaugh).

    Anyway, this Dunbar kid was a human jet. And, fairly big too. About 6’0″, 6’1″, 190-200 lbs. And, no one recruited him. The I found out the reason. He had taken the ACT college admissions test three times and his highest score was a 12. (As I understand it the ACT scale begins at 12, the score awarded for writing in your name without misspelling it; writing in the name of your school, the date.)

    Since reading your comments, I’ve always wondered. Are you that Dunbar?

  15. Yes. So nice to be reunited with you. I can’t wait to watch Larry Highbaugh’s grandson play football again next season.

  16. HC…your way is my way. I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen; the approach by the staff, the vision CKW seems to have, his ideas of and for offense, his philosophies of both coaching and leadership.

    Likewise, I trust he has noticed the impact our defense has on his vision and he doesn’t seem to me to be the kind that leaves his weaknesses exposed too long. To summarize, I trust his coaching, the progress made, his staff selection and his standards. On every point of that scale we’ve made progress.

    And, the progress has been exponential. There was a big difference between IU-2011 version and IU-2012 version. I expect we’ll see the same between now and next year, and that the progress will be spread to the defense as well.

    More important, I believe he has a great eye for ‘what a football player is’. And that the type of talent he’ll be bringing in will be more and more consistent through the years until a class of four years will mean some 55-65 good, solid, competitive football players at IU at any one time.

    That makes this a ‘good season’. Those who understand competitive athletics understand what that is.

    (BTW, I’ve also seen ‘bad’ winning seasons. For instance, Kelvin Sampson’s last season at IU he was 21-11).

  17. Sampson was 22-4 his last season before Dakich took over and went 3-4. KS was 22-11 the previous year. But yes, 07-08 was actually a very unenjoyable season.

  18. Tsao, I appreciate the verbal gymnastics you’ve used to conclude that the 2012 IU football season was “good.” That is some impressive spin and I appreciate your optimism. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’m a bottom line kind of guy. A losing season is bad season. A winning season is a good season. I don’t think Wilson would agree with you that 2012 was a good season. He has higher standards and is paid to produce winning seasons.

    I think we can all find good things from this season, I think we can all agree that it was a better season, and we can be optimistic about next season, but it won’t be a “good” season until IU produces a winning record. Let’s maintain high expectations.

  19. Tsao- post #15 about firing Mallory: he was 1-15 in his last two years and the collapse was manifest. I remember watching one kickoff and the IU receiving team stood around and watched the ball come to rest while the kicking team recovered. Others have posted that the firing was rude, and maybe so (I don’t have any skinny to support or deny the charge), but it was due. What some may deem ingratitude could also be interpreted as a desire to keep the winning momentum rolling (and not slip into the complacency that has afflicted IU football since, like, forever) by getting rid of a coach who had lost his touch. God bless Coach Mallory (there’s a street named for him in Bloomington and that is not enough tribute in my book) but just ‘cause the subsequent hires stunk did not mean the decision to let BM go was wrong.
    Po- post #20 about Tsao’s verbal gymnastics. Glad to see that you are not a relativist, but I concur the season has been good. No gymnastics necessary. Winning season = good, losing season = bad is just too simplistic. I hope IU gets to the point where all of us are royally honked off when IU finishes 8-4 and that’s a bad season! Which relates to what I wrote about firing Mallory- let’s not be complacent, but celebrate progress and not be satisfied with sliding back into the gloom.

  20. Davis, thanks…maybe living through watching one coach walk out walking a turkey the Sat. before Thanksgiving and some of the epic losing does influence how I feel about Mallory’s performance. I thought one more conditional year… But, your argument is just as justified.

    I’m certainly not a relativist, and I do feel the season has been ‘good’, We are certainly playing to be competitive in the Big Ten, playing with a lot of commitment, much stronger and better conditioned physically, have raised standards of performance, seem to be much more solid in technique and mechanics, even accept the expectation of actually hitting during the week, we’re deeper than I remember the program in quite a way and our expectations (as fans) are much higher which speak to addressing the change in culture we have spoken about.

    While we still have a ‘good’ ways to go, we have made ‘good’ progress to get here even when measured by the standards of a ‘good’ team, which makes me feel this was a ‘good’ season on absolute terms. The record will follow. That’s how I think it works.

  21. Podunker, sorry…I meant to include your name in the salutation for #23. Probably had a stroke while writing it and forgot to type your name as well. Consider yourself included in the ‘good’ thought.

    We don’t agree,,,I know I consider some performances ‘good’ where we lost the game and consider some wins ‘not good’. That’s a standard I have for my own expectations, etc. And there’s one other thing…sometimes we loose (lost) because the other team beat us (they do get to say something about it).

    But, given that I used to expect IU to be clearly beaten against solid teams like Fitzgerald’s Northwestern or Michigan State or Iowa, and this year I was able to feel we were the equal’ on the field- of any team we faced except Wisconsin (yes, to marginally to include Penn State) and we fought eyeball to eyeball with nearly every team…it’s been a good season. That’s not being a relativist, that’s applying an absolute standards of feeling ‘we have a good football team’, to last a while.

    Gosh…I don’t know how I’ll fill me Saturdays next fall if you disagree with me….nahh, maybe I’ll stay with good.

    And I agree with Podunker…Good post (#21) Podunker!!!

  22. Ooops! Triple oops! (Really not my day…head cold). Should have written on #24, last line…”I agree with HfH, great post Podunker!”

  23. Gene P…thanks. And, that is exactly what I am talking about. Even before the ceiling fell in on us, when the speculation was that we might actually be allowed off the hook, I was having very, very bad feelings about that team, even as we were winning consistently. I like a team that expresses the feeling of ‘It’s Indiana’. It really is a statement with all it implies. Some winning performance do not state the same thing.

    One of the things I am really enjoying about CKW’s team this year is that we are doing it well the old fashioned way…one block at a time. All that sums up to a good (and some day, memorable 2012 season). And that’s good.

  24. BTW, Davis/Podunker…all of the above; which does not mean that I consider every facet of the game at the same level of accomplishment or development.

    I do feel we have a major, major problem on defense. Especially, as it relates to the defensive end, defensive backfield and linebacker play, And, of course, we are losing the solid part of our defensive line.

    I hope and sincerely believe Coach Wilson is thinking and planning ahead for it. His vision that his high pressure offense considers, I assume, that we do stop the opposing team some times during the course of a game.

    And, I assume that CKW is aware that something is quite broken there and he has to do the analysis, planning and acting as the head coach. I trust his intelligence and his ability to both define the problems and assume them. He’ll have to deal with these now as they threaten his vision for the team and to the program he has in mind.

    I do trust his judgment.

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