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Penn State Vs. Indiana: Report Card

November 13, 2016 GMT

PLAYER OF THE GAME

QB Trace McSorley, Penn State: The sophomore practically willed Penn State’s offense to a big second half. Despite his first two turnovers since September, both interceptions, McSorley completed 16 of 30 passes for a whopping 332 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed for a third score, even though he had to fight through an early ankle injury and several big hits he absorbed from the Indiana defense throughout the game.

GAME BALLS

LB Brandon Bell, Penn State: Bell made just about every big play the Nittany Lions needed down the stretch. He finished with nine tackles. 2.5 for loss, and a strip sack of Indiana QB Richard Lagow that led to DE Torrence Brown’s fumble recovery for a touchdown.

WR Chris Godwin, Penn State:Caught five passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns, both of which gave Penn State a lead.

RB Devine Redding, Indiana:The Hoosiers’ tough running back powered through the Penn State defense for 108 yards on 23 carries, scoring two touchdowns.

BY THE NUMBERS

5: Fumbles lost by Indiana, four of which came in the first half.

8: Pass completions of 20 yards or more for Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley.

9: First-down pickups for Indiana when facing eight yards or more to go.

31: Points scored by Penn State in the final 16:09.

33: Number of carries — a career-high — for Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, who finished with 58 yards on the ground.

REPORT CARD

Quarterbacks: This might not have been Trace McSorley’s cleanest game, but it may have been his most impactful. He gutted his way to 332 passing yards, 13 more on the ground and three touchdowns. He did throw two interceptions, one on a very poorly thrown ball. But PSU doesn’t win without him staying focused. GRADE: B+

Running backs: Saquon Barkley might have been a disappointment in a fantasy league this week, gaining just 58 yards. But his career-high 33 carries set up the big flea-flicker pass to DaeSean Hamilton and kept the Hoosiers defense honest. Barkley ran hard despite a lack of results, and the persistence paid off. GRADE: B

Receivers: They didn’t win many one-on-one battles against a pretty good group of cornerbacks for Indiana, but as the game went on, they started to win enough. Chris Godwin came down with two scores, and TE Mike Gesicki made a couple of big grabs. GRADE: B

Offensive line: So difficult to judge the performance of this group, because it never could have pictured it would have to do what it did after Paris Palmer left the game in the first quarter. But guard Ryan Bates moved to tackle, and Derek Dowrey and Steven Gonzalez got playing time, Gonzalez after Connor McGovern left with an injury. They weren’t always great, but they were always tough. GRADE: B

Defensive line: As the game progressed, this group was able to get a bead on Indiana QB Richard Lagow, and it may have decided the game. DE Garrett Sickels had 1.5 sacks, and DT Kevin Givens broke up a fourth-down pass and had a half sack. Torrence Brown sealed the game with a fumble recovery for a score. GRADE: B+

Linebackers: As they typically seem to do, Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda played fired up, with Bell forcing the fumble Brown returned for the score. But as he tends to do as well, Brandon Smith subbed in and made a big play in a big spot, knocking a fourth-down pass away from Nick Westbrook in the end zone. GRADE B+

Secondary: SAF Marcus Allen led the Lions with 10 tackles and was solid against the run, and CB Christian Campbell had an important pass breakup late. But there were just far too many deep passes available for Indiana, which allowed Lagow and Zander Diamont to throw for 344 yards. GRADE: C-

Special teams: Quietly, this was kind of a disaster outside of P Blake Gillikin. Kickoffs were inconsistent. Irvin Charles bobbled a kickoff return. A holding penalty on Jordan Smith negated a nice return. The biggest play this group made — Christian Campbell’s recovery of a muffed punt inside the Indiana 10 in the second quarter — was really just an awful mistake by Indiana. GRADE: D+

Coaching: They stuck to the plan, and it wound up working, even as the offensive line kept changing and the Hoosiers kept blitzing. They deserve more credit for this win than perhaps any other this season. GRADE: A-