EditorsNote: adds Fryfogle stats; added day game played in lede; other fixes throughout
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford accounted for three touchdowns to lead the No. 9 Nittany Lions to a 34-27 victory over Indiana on Saturday in University Park, Pa.
Clifford completed 11 of 23 passes for 179 yards and a score, and the sophomore rushed for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
Journey Brown carried 21 times for 100 yards and a score for the Nittany Lions (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten).
Indiana junior Peyton Ramsey, in his fourth start this season but first since freshman Michael Penix Jr. was ruled out for the season with an injury, completed 31 of 41 passes for a career-high 371 yards and a touchdown. He added two rushing scores for the Hoosiers (7-3, 4-3), who had a four-game winning streak snapped.
Both teams played without their top wide receivers — Penn State’s KJ Hamler and Indiana’s Whop Philyor — for most of the game due to injury.
The Nittany Lions forced the initial big break early in the first quarter when Indiana punt returner Philyor was ruled to have touched a bouncing punt while attempting to avoid it.
Clifford struck five plays later by tossing a 12-yard score to tight end Nick Bowers at 12:04 after the home side began the series at the Hoosiers’ 27-yard line.
On a busted coverage in the Penn State secondary, Ramsey answered on IU’s first series with a 38-yard lob to wide open Ty Fryfogle for a 7-7 tie at 9:31. Fryfogle had five catches for 131 yards.
The Nittany Lions’ Jake Pinegar squeezed in a career-long 47-yard field goal for a 10-7 edge at 6:22, but Ramsey’s 1-yard sneak on third down pushed Indiana to a 14-10 lead at 3:27.
As his pocket collapsed on the ensuing drive, Clifford broke through and raced 38 yards to the pylon for a 17-14 lead at 1:03, and Pinegar added a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter for a 20-14 halftime lead.
Two plays after a failed Indiana fake punt from its 44 on the second half’s first series, Brown tore through the middle on a 35-yard run to push the lead to 27-14.
Indiana reduced the deficit to 27-17 when Logan Justus booted a 25-yard field goal late in the third quarter before Ramsey tallied his second 1-yard TD run with 10:45 remaining in the game.
Clifford’s second TD — a 1-yard run on fourth down with 1:44 left — capped a 75-yard drive that took 18 plays and 9:01 off the clock.
Justus kicked a 27-yard field goal with 13 seconds left, but Penn State recovered the onside kick.
—Field Level Media