Punchless PSU avoids late knockout from Indiana

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The offense formerly known as the Spread HD has turned into a huge dud for Penn State.

The Nittany Lions rolled up 464 yards offense and held the ball for 37 minutes, 27 seconds, but produced just one touchdown and three field goals Saturday in a 16-10 win against Indiana.

The victory wasn't secure until Dusty Kiel's wobbly Hail Mary pass fell to the turf for an incompletion at the 5 on the final play.

Penn State (4-1, 1-0) won its Big Ten Conference opener for the third time in 12 years while improving to 15-0 all time against the Hoosiers (1-4, 0-1) before 42,621 at Memorial Stadium.

"We made some mistakes obviously," offensive coordinator Galen Hall said. "We had the tipped pass for the interception. We had the fumble going in to score. We had the holding penalty on the touchdown run.

"We continued to shoot ourselves in the foot offensively."

Tailback Silas Redd, who rushed for 129 yards on 29 carries, had an 8-yard touchdown run called back on the first series because of a holding call on tight end Andrew Szczerba.

On the next play, starting quarterback Rob Bolden threw his fourth interception of the year, which Indiana turned into a 49-yard field goal by Mitch Ewald.

Redd lost a fumble at the 2 in the third quarter after a gain of 1, likely costing Penn State another touchdown.

And he was dropped for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-1 play at the Indiana 39 with a little more than two minutes to go in the game, forcing Penn State to punt to the Hoosiers one last time after they had pulled within six points on tight end Ted Bolser's 5-yard touchdown catch a few minutes earlier.

"A bittersweet day," said Redd, the sophomore running back who has three 100-yard rushing games in his career.

"We got a win, but we struggled a little bit. We've just got to score.

"And I just can't fumble in the red zone. It's inexcusable."

Penn State's defense, which held Indiana to nine three-and-out series and 256 yards, hung tough on the final drive, even though the Hoosiers made it to Penn State's 40.

Wide receiver Derek Moye, who had six catches for 158 yards and scored on a 74-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt McGloin in the third quarter, praised Penn State's top-10 ranked defense for saving the day.

"[I am] very thankful," said Moye, a fifth-year senior co-captain from Rochester High School. "I think we have one of the better defenses in the country.

"When your offense is struggling like ours did, you have something to fall back on. But we can't rely on the defense all season. Sooner or later, we are going to need to do something."

Penn State had five trips inside the red zone, but had to settle for field goals of 22, 27 and 33 yards from Anthony Fera, to go along with Bolden's interception at the 1 and Redd's fumble.

"We got a lot of work to do," said coach Joe Paterno, who was on the sideline for the first half and in the coaches booth for the second.

Bolden completed 6 of 14 passes for 67 yards. He threw one interception and was sacked once. McGloin was 10 of 22 for 204 yards and a touchdown. He has thrown 10 touchdown passes in the past 12 games to Moye.

"We moved the ball, but we were inconsistent," McGloin said.

McGloin said he was "disappointed" he didn't get the start over Bolden.

"I thought I played well enough to start," he said. "I thought I played well enough to start [this Saturday against Iowa]. But, as of right now, I just have no idea."

NOTES -- Mike Farrell, from Shady Side Academy, replaced Chima Okoli at right tackle in the second quarter after Okoli was flagged for a false start. ... Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said cornerback Stephon Morris injured his ankle and may not be available for the Iowa game. ... Bradley also said cornerback D'Anton Lynn (mild concussion) has to pass a battery of tests before he can return to practice. ... Cornerback Chaz Powell had an interception and was charged with a fumble on a punt return. ... Defensive end Sean Stanley forced a fumble and defensive tackle Devon Still recovered it. ... Defensive tackle Jordan Hill had Penn State's lone sack.


Ron Musselman: rmusselman@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rmusselmanppg.


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