September 30, 2017 / 11:45 PM / 10 months ago

Barkley's kick return sparks rout for No. 4 Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Heisman Trophy hopeful Saquon Barkley returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and No. 4 Penn State built a 28-0 first-quarter lead en route to a 45-14 victory over Indiana on Saturday afternoon.

DaeSean Hamilton also caught three touchdown passes — two from quarterback Trace McSorley and another from Barkley — as the Lions improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2008.

Hamilton had nine receptions to raise his career total to 181, a school record. Deon Butler, who played at Penn State from 2005-08, held the previous mark (179).

McSorley went 23 for 36 for 315 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked five times and intercepted once.

Barkley, who entered the game leading the FBS in all-purpose yards per game (253.3), finished with 205. He rushed for just 56 yards on 20 carries but contributed 51 on four receptions, in addition to his kickoff return.

Indiana fell to 2-2.

Barkley fielded the opening kickoff at his 2, started right, picked up a block from backup cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields and burst out of the pack. At the 40, he juked kicker Griffin Oakes before outracing DeVonte Williams down the right sideline to complete the 98-yard play.

It was Penn State’s first kickoff return touchdown since Chaz Powell took one back 95 yards against Indiana State in 2011.

Lions cornerback Christian Campbell then pried the ball free from running back Morgan Ellison, with linebacker Jason Cabinda recovering at the IU 39. Two plays later McSorley hit wide-open receiver Juwan Johnson for a gain of 24 on a crossing route, setting up a 1-yard TD keeper by the quarterback with 11:41 left in the period.

Later in the period PSU’s Irv Charles forced a fumble by Hoosiers punt returner J-Shun Harris at the IU 13. Nick Scott scooped up the ball and ran it into the end zone.

Minutes later, a roughing-the-punter penalty aided Penn State’s nine-play, 73-yard drive, as did some more wizardry on the part of Barkley. He made a one-handed grab of McSorley’s pass into the left flat and turned it into a 36-yard gain.

Five plays later McSorley hit Hamilton for an eight-yard TD, making it 28-0.

McSorley’s 24-yard TD pass to Hamilton with 3:22 left in the third increased the Penn State lead to 38-14. Barkley threw a 16-yard scoring strike to Hamilton with 4:13 remaining in the game.

NOTES: Penn State had two special teams touchdowns in a game for the first time since 2001. ... LB Tegray Scales recorded three of Indiana’s five sacks. ... A second-quarter interception by IU’s Jonathan Crawford was the Hoosiers’ first of the season. ... Redshirt freshman OL Will Fries made his first career start at right tackle for Penn State, although Chasz Wright, who started the first three games at that position before missing the Iowa game with an undisclosed injury, saw action off the bench. Andrew Nelson, who started against the Hawkeyes, did not dress. ... Penn State CB Amani Oruwariye played after sitting out the two previous games with an undisclosed injury. ... Indiana was without two defensive starters — LB/S Marcelino Ball and CB A’Shon Riggins, because of undisclosed injuries. ... IU CB Rashard Fant returned after missing last week’s victory over Georgia Southern because of injury. ... Indiana PR J-Shun Harris left the game when he was injured while losing a first-quarter fumble. He did not return. ... Penn State TE Mike Gesicki and MLB Jason Cabinda left the game and did not return because of injuries. Cabinda was accidentally kicked in the head by a teammate in the third quarter. ... The announced attendance was 107,542.

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