BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton gave No. 16 Penn State a knockout ground game Saturday.
The combination was too much for Indiana.
Allen ran for 86 yards and a season-high three scores, Singleton added 73 yards rushing and another touchdown and the two freshmen helped the Nittany Lions rout the Hoosiers 45-14.
“We take pride when we see our running backs making big plays and we feel in our unit that we kind of drive this offense,” tight end Theo Johnson said after catching a TD pass. “So when we see our running backs doing good things, we feel really good.”
Penn State (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) followed a simple script.
With Allen and Singleton providing the scoring punches, a suffocating defense delivered more big blows — logging six sacks, all in the first half, limiting the Hoosiers to 65 yards on the ground and never giving Indiana (3-6, 1-5) much hope.
The Hoosiers have lost six straight and must win their final three games to become bowl eligible. Their journey begins with a trip to Columbus, Ohio, next week, possibly without their top two quarterbacks.
Connor Bazelak, the transfer from Missouri who started each of Indiana’s first seven games, watched this one in street clothes. His replacement, Jack Tuttle, left late in the first half and went straight to the locker room with an apparent shoulder injury. Tuttle did not return.
True freshman Brendan Sorsby went three of six with 8 yards and one interception before he was relieved by Dexter Williams III, who finished four of 11 with 41 yards and two interceptions.
“Connor is dinged up and obviously didn’t dress,” coach Tom Allen said. “Jack went down, still trying for him. Hopefully, we should get Connor back next week.”
Singleton started the scoring with a 1-yard TD run. After Tuttle tied the score with an 11-yard TD pass to AJ Barner, the Nittany Lions quickly took control.
Allen scored on runs of 11 and 6 yards on back-to-back second-quarter possessions and Jack Pinegar closed out the half with a career-long 50-yard field goal to make it 24-7. Allen’s 6-yard TD run in the third quarter sealed the victory.
Highly touted freshman quarterback Drew Allar entered the game on Penn State’s ensuing series.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions might be out of the Big Ten East chase but they sure looked motivated. They controlled the clock, the tempo and the Hoosiers to give coach James Franklin career win No. 98. They need three more to post their fourth 10-win season since 2016.
Indiana: Its once-promising season has gone almost completely gone off the rails. Despite firing his offensive line coach and changing quarterbacks, coach Tom Allen's team has not responded and now they may have to use an unproven starter against No. 2 Ohio State.
Penn State's victory isn't likely to make waves in this week's rankings, but if the Nittany Lions close the season with three wins against unranked foes they could make it back into the top 10.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions had 16 tackles for loss. Franklin said he was told it’s a school single-game record. ... Sean Clifford was 15 of 23 with 229 yards and one interception. He’s 16 yards away from surpassing Trace McSorley as the school’s career passing leader. ... Parker Washington had four receptions for 30 yards after catching 11 passes for 179 yards last week.
Indiana: Must win each of its final three games to become bowl eligible. ... The Hoosiers ran 31 plays in the first half and 15 went for zero yards or negative yards. ... Indiana had minus-6 yards rushing in the first two quarters. ... The Hoosiers gave up 483 total yards and generated just 196 and the defense was on the field for nearly 36 minutes.
Hoosiers cornerback Tiawan Mullin and Nittany Lions receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith were entangled in a shoving match during the third quarter when Penn State was threatening to take a 31-7 lead. Mullin ripped off Lambert-Smith’s helmet and the refs flagged both players for unsportsmanlike conduct. Neither was ejected.
Penn State: Hosts Maryland next Saturday.
Indiana: Visits No. 2 Ohio State next Saturday.