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Defense leads the way as Penn State beats Indiana

STATE COLLEGE — Penn State players and coach James Franklin insisted they didn’t want revenge against Indiana for their controversial loss last year.

The Nittany Lions sure didn’t play that way Saturday night.

Behind wide receiver Jahan Dotson and its stout defense, fourth-ranked Penn State pounded the Hoosiers 24-0 before a Stripe Out crowd of 109,951 at Beaver Stadium.

The Lions (5-0) stretched their winning streak to nine games and set up a top-five showdown against Iowa (5-0) next week in Iowa City.

Penn State limited Indiana (2-3) to 201 total yards through the first 3½ quarters and pressured Michael Penix into 10-of-22 passing for 118 yards. Penix injured his left arm in the third quarter and went to the locker room for the rest of the night.

A year ago, he directed a touchdown drive late in regulation and ran for the tying two-point conversion against Penn State. In overtime, his controversial two-point run gave the Hoosiers a 36-35 victory in the delayed season opener.

The Lions made sure there would not be another upset Saturday night and improved their record against Indiana to 23-2.

They posted their first shutout since a 59-0 shellacking at Maryland in 2019.

Linebacker Brandon Smith had a sack and a blocked field goal to lead the defense. Joey Porter Jr. and Tig Brown had interceptions and Arnold Ebiketie had a sack.

Penn State held Indiana to 69 rushing yards on 24 carries.

The offense struggled at times, but Sean Clifford completed 17-of-33 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns. Keyvone Lee, the most effective running back, rushed for 74 yards on eight carries.

Dotson finished with eight receptions for 82 yards and two touchdowns. He and Clifford became the most prolific touchdown duo in Penn State history, passing Todd Blackledge and Kenny Jackson with their 20th scoring hook-up.

Jordan Stout capped the scoring with a 50-yard field goal with 8:06 to go.

Penn State mounted two lengthy drives to take a 14-0 lead in the first half.

On their second series, the Lions started from their 20 and converted a third down and a fourth down. On third-and-7 from the 23, Clifford scrambled for 13 yards. Moments later, he threw a pretty sideline pass to Parker Washington for 9 yards on fourth-and-7.

Three plays later, Clifford rolled to the left, kept his eyes on the end zone and found tight end Brenton Strange for a 10-yard touchdown.

Penn State committed its first turnover when Clifford threw behind Washington, and it was intercepted by Raheem Layne. He returned it 23 yards to the Lions’ 13, putting the Hoosiers in position to tie it.

But Penn State’s defense made a stand. Ebiketie stuffed Stephen Carr for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the 4.

Sparked by the defense, the offense drove 96 yards to take a two-touchdown lead. Lee burst off the right side for 44 yards and then for 21 yards off the left side to the Indiana 9.

Two plays later, Clifford zipped a pass to the back of the end zone that Dotson leaped and grabbed behind Layne early in the second quarter.

The defenses owned the rest of the quarter. Only Indiana was able to pick up two first downs on a possession, and that one ended with Porter intercepting Penix’s pass for Ty Fryfogle at the Penn State 13.

The Lions gained just 41 yards on their last four series of the half. That wasn’t a problem with the way their defense played.

Source: Berkshire mont

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