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Penn State Nittany Lions

Nittany Lions win mad marathon scramble at Indiana while Franklin and staff secure moral loss

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – After participating in a couple of game titles that felt like wins until eventually they were being misplaced in the remaining 5 minutes, the Penn Point out Nittany Lions – and specifically their coaches – played a contest on Saturday at perennially forlorn Indiana that felt like a decline at quite a few junctures, 1 they nearly blew but finished up winning. And it nearly feels like a decline now.

Does that make any feeling?

It’s possible not. But a good deal didn’t make a ton of feeling in the Lions’ 33-28 earn at IU’s Memorial Stadium.

Like, how can a distinctive groups general performance with kickoff returns of 58 and 94 yards be judged as a web adverse? It’s possible with 4 punt-capture muffs and a bogus punt consider that hardly ever had a prayer and ignited 1 of the Hoosiers’ touchdowns.

And how is it that the stars of the Nittany Lions’ earn were being a third-string freshman basic safety, a again-up sophomore defensive stop who scarcely played in the initially 50 % and a running again who will not even show up on the depth chart?

But lastly, how does a crew with a 12-place lead and 4:35 still left in the sport, fresh new off what looks incredibly substantially like a killing defensive halt, rationalize throwing the ball on 3 of 3 downs in 20-30 mph winds towards a defense from Indiana? Determine that 1 out for me.

We’re not speaking about Ohio Point out or even Michigan Point out right here. A ton of selections you make on clock administration towards this sort of rough defenses blow up in your facial area. Not necessarily mainly because they’re the mistaken selections, just mainly because your team’s not pretty very good sufficient to make them do the job.

But this was Indiana. This was a tenacious but perpetually undermanned crew that specializes in running out of fuel in the fourth quarter towards leading-tier competition, simply mainly because they never have the depth of talent to dangle that long.

The Hoosiers know the drill by now, they have been by way of it so many instances towards Ohio Point out and Michigan. 6 of the past 8 meetings towards those two Massive Ten East powers, they have been in the sport very well into the remaining time period but just couldn’t complete.

And right here, they’d just been stopped by Nick Scott’s fourth-down interception on a tipped ball with 4:35 to go. Eighty p.c of their have freezing fans had now still left for home.

A crew with Indiana’s heritage will not struggle with the desperation of recurring winners soon after a engage in like that in an ambiance like this 1. They just want a motive to submit.

As an alternative, Penn Point out head coach James Franklin and rookie offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne, evidently and admittedly manipulated by failed selections they produced towards incredibly diverse OSU and MSU defenses in current losses, determined it would be a very good idea to “remain intense.” That meant throwing on initially down, incomplete (clock stops). Throwing on second down (a flat pass finished for no get). And throwing on third down, incomplete (clock stops).

Grand total of time utilized: :29. Indiana timeouts expended: 1.

I requested Franklin what went into this conclusion to pass, pass and pass with the opponent so evidently hanging on the ropes. Franklin started his reaction:

“At the stop of the day, it is about having initially downs. …”

This substantially we can concur on. But Penn Point out couldn’t have gotten a initially down running towards a worn-out Indiana defense that had surrendered reliable ground yardage?

As an alternative, Franklin’s rationale referenced the Ohio Point out and Michigan Point out losses:

“A number of weeks just before, 4-moment offense, we operate the ball several instances, never get a initially down, get a little little bit of time off the clock.

“So, we required to be intense there. We’ve absent again and forth with it in what we want to do. It comes down to having initially downs. Of course, this circumstance didn’t do the job, either.

“Time just before, we ran the ball, weren’t able to consume time off the clock, weren’t able to get initially downs. And this time, we didn’t do a very good position of it.”

But, those other selections arrived towards the deep, outstanding defenses of Ohio Point out and Michigan Point out, I responded. This is Indiana, with all due respect to the Hoosiers. And it was actually windy.

Franklin’s summary:

“I’ve now answered your dilemma. You want me to give you a diverse respond to mainly because you never like it.”

In fact, I just never comprehend it.

Anyway, the Hoosiers, most likely incredulous at their very good fortune, discovered their flickering flame fanned again to lifetime. They acquired the ball again with nonetheless 4:06 to go. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey dit-dat-ditted his boys 15 plays and 85 yards to a landing with :49 nonetheless to go – sufficient time to consider an onside kick, down 5 details with a puncher’s possibility.

And, soon after missing the initially 1 many thanks to a fortunate PSU timeout termed just just before the kickoff, the Hoosiers recovered the second 1. They had the ball at their have 42 with a respectable prospect to earn a sport in which they had no business nonetheless staying alive.

As it turned out, the Hoosiers’ fourth offensive keeping get in touch with of the sport, Shaka Toney’s fourth sack and a fantastic open up-area deal with by John Reid to continue to keep an IU receiver in-bounds at the PSU 44 garden line blended to operate out the clock and help you save the Lions from shame. It actually would not have been theirs. It would have been on Franklin and Rahne.

It’s possible there is no this sort of matter as moral victories. But if there are, mustn’t there also be moral defeats? If so, this was 1 for the PSU employees.

I backed Franklin’s (and Joe Moorhead’s) strategic selections in past year’s Ohio Point out and Michigan Point out losses and the USC Rose Bowl the calendar year just before. I assumed a couple of plays were being inches from operating and putting away each sport. Passes were being dropped, plays weren’t produced.

I noticed not approximately so substantially hassle as some did with administration selections produced in this year’s Ohio Point out and Michigan Point out game titles, other than sometimes snapping the ball with far too substantially time still left on the engage in clock. To me, the overriding variable towards OSU, and to some extent towards MSU, was that the Lions just weren’t pretty very good sufficient but to complete those game titles.

But this? This was madness.

It can be been proposed to me that Franklin required to roll up the rating, that he would not have been satisfied with running out the clock even had PSU gained another couple of initially downs. I are unable to know if that is real, nevertheless background indicates it may be. If so, it is pure hubris.

What I do know is, Penn Point out incredibly approximately once again tossed away a earn for the sixth time in two calendar many years with a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and a lead inside the 5:00 mark.

Like the some others, there were being issues produced, some sloppy engage in and the types of items 18-23-calendar year-olds do. As opposed to the some others, this would have been due principally to unsound selections by the older people in Penn State’s space.

It can be a earn. Coaches of any crew coloration hardly ever measure by any other stick. In this circumstance, Penn State’s need to also weigh their very good luck.

E mail/TWITTER DAVID JONES: djones@pennlive.com



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