BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Saquon Barkley ran for two go-ahead touchdowns in the fourth quarter, helping No. 12 Penn State beat Indiana 45-31 on Saturday.
Barkley was held to 20 yards on 20 carries though the first three quarters. But the Big Ten’s top rusher stepped up in the final period, helping the Nittany Lions (8-2, 6-1, No. 10 CFP) keep pace with No. 2 Michigan in the East Division with their sixth consecutive victory.
First, Barkley found a hole for a four-yard TD run that made it 28-24. After Indiana regained the lead on Richard Lagow’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Nick Westbrook, Barkley ran over a defender for a two-yard score with 3:58 left.
"What you can’t do when you’re struggling in the run game is abort it, especially with a young offensive line," Penn State coach James Franklin said. "It was a gutsy, gutsy win on the road."
Penn State sealed the victory with a nine-yard fumble return for a TD with 29 seconds left.
Barkley finished with 60 yards on 33 carries. Trace McSorley was 16 of 30 for 332 yards with two TD passes and two interceptions.
Indiana (5-5, 3-4) had won two in a row. Lagow was 23 of 40 for 292 yards and two TDs, and Devine Redding ran 23 times for 108 yards and two scores.
"As hard as we played, as much as we played, we’ve got to play better," Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said. "And I’ve got to coach better down the stretch."
Penn State: The Nittany Lions maintained their long-shot division hopes, but still need help. They dropped their conference opener to the unbeaten Wolverines.
Indiana: The Hoosiers blew a golden opportunity for a signature win. It would have been Indiana’s second Top 25 victory this season and secured bowl eligibility with two games to play. Next up is Michigan in Ann Arbor before finishing with rival Purdue in the regular-season finale.
Indiana lost five fumbles, four in the first half. Penn State made it 14-7 after recovering a muffed punt at Indiana’s six-yard line. Penn State committed two turnovers and the Hoosiers scored their second touchdown with one minute left in the first half after picking off McSorley.
Penn State’s already depleted offensive line took another hit when left tackle Paris Palmer left in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury. Cornerback Jordan Smith was sent off the field by the refs after the first play of the fourth quarter to enter the concussion protocol.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions could become the sixth Big Ten team to crack the top 10 this season.
Indiana: The Hoosiers haven’t been ranked in the Top 25 since 1994 — and this loss won’t help them end the longest current drought for a power-five school.
Penn State: Things should get easier next weekend when the Nittany Lions visit Rutgers, the last Big Ten team winless in conference play.
Indiana: After playing four ranked teams in their last seven games, the Hoosiers face an even more daunting task next weekend. Michigan has won the last 20 in the series.