On the first weekend of Big Ten football, we just got what may have been the best finish of the season thus far. Indiana football just won a literal game of inches against Penn State in overtime, 36-35.
Indiana came out hot, holding a 17-7 lead at the half against PSU. The Nittany Lions battled back, extending a one-point lead to 28-20 on a 14 yard touchdown by Devyn Ford, which may have wound up being a mistake. PSU took over at the IU 14, and may have been able to run the clock out already up 21-20 with less than two minutes left. The Hoosiers essentially let him score, giving the offense a chance to drive down the field to tie.
IU took over at its own 25 after the kickoff, and went the length of the field in 1:20. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. punched it in from a yard out after leading the drive. He then scored on the two-point conversion as well to tie things at 28.
PSU took over with good field position, but missed a field goal to win it in regulation. On the fourth play in overtime, Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford found Parker Washington for a nine-yard touchdown to take the lead. Penix answered, scoring what most figured would be the game-tying score on a pass to Whop Philyor.
Rather than take the extra point to force a second overtime, Indiana football coach Tom Allen elected to go for two and the win. Penix called his own number again, running for the left pylon. He extended, making for one of the closest goal line plays you'll ever see.
It is very hard to know whether he broke the plane before going out of bounds, but the call on the field was a successful conversion. After a long review, the call stood, probably the right call given how close it was and the call on the field. Combine a great upset with an unbelievable finish, and this was definitely one of the early games of the year.
The score snaps a 42-game losing streak against AP Top 10 teams for Indiana. That streak dates back to 1987!
Welcome back, Big Ten football. More of this, please.