BLOOMINGTON – So much for history.
Indiana, which was 0-16 against Penn State entering Saturday’s game at Memorial Stadium, beat the Nittany Lions 44-24.
IU (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten) was at its best in every facet of the game.
I’m proud of our guys, IU coach Kevin Wilson said after the team’s first win in a Big Ten opener since 2000. We’ve got to win games like this; we’re a good enough team to.
There were doubts about that as the Hoosiers entered a bye week after a 45-28 drubbing by Missouri.
Sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns and was 23 for 38 with an interception, while redshirt sophomore quarterback Tre Roberson had a pair of touchdowns and a two-point conversion on Wildcat formation runs.
Junior wide receiver Cody Latimer led the team with a career-high nine receptions and 140 yards, and sophomore running back Tevin Coleman had 147 all-purpose yards and a touchdown run.
Penn State freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg was 30 for 55 for 340 yards and three touchdowns and set a Nittany Lions record for pass attempts thanks to a looming deficit and no help from the run game.
His running backs managed just 120 yards on 31 attempts against an IU defense that was worst in the Big Ten in run defense entering the game.
I think it was great to see 11 guys there, flying around, committed to stopping the run, junior safety Mark Murphy said.
The Hoosiers gave up just 218 yards in the first half, and the Hoosiers carried a 13-7 lead into halftime at Memorial Stadium.
It was the first halftime lead for IU against the Nittany Lions (3-2, 0-1) since 2004.
Beating Penn State, that’s something that’s never been done here, senior linebacker David Cooper said. Our defense is way better than it used to be. It feels great.
Penn State was quick to buck the deficit. Hackenberg hooked up with junior wide receiver Allen Robinson for a 26-yard score with 9:18 left in the third quarter. It was the second touchdown catch for Robinson, who had 12 catches for 172 yards.
But the Hoosiers responded with their run game
Coleman broke a career-best 44-yard touchdown run; a two-point conversion try by Roberson was good and IU took a seven-point lead with 7:56 left in the third quarter.
After a Penn State field goal, IU entered the fourth quarter with a four-point advantage and the ball on the Nittany Lions’ 20-yard line. The Hoosiers worked their way to the 2-yard line, where Roberson again took a designed run into the end zone.
The wheels fell off for Penn State in the face of the double-digit deficit.
The Nittany Lions committed a litany of penalties on their next drive, and on fourth-and-2 from their own 33, Hoosiers defensive tackle Bobby Richardson reached up and batted down a pass to give IU the ball with 11:24 left.
The Hoosiers scored on a 36-yard sliding catch by senior wide receiver Kofi Hughes, who passed 100 career catches in the win. After going up 35-17, Steven Funderburk forced a Penn State fumble on the kickoff, and Roberson got his second score.
We want to build a program that’s going to be competitive in this league, Wilson said. Those guys are going to be in this league, and they’re one of the standards you shoot for. It was nice to go toe-to-toe and play a decent game.