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Indiana’s Gamble Pays Off In OT Upset Over No. 8 Penn State

Michael Penix Jr.

Michael Penix Jr. runs for the game winning two point conversion against Penn State on October 24th, 2020 (Adam Pinsker WTIU/WFIU)

Michael Penix forced overtime with a 2-point conversion run with 22 seconds left, then scored on a diving 2-point conversion to give Indiana a season-opening 36-35 upset victory over No. 8 Penn State — ending the Big Ten’s longest streak of consecutive losses to Top 10 teams at 42.

The winning play went to a replay review before the officials announced the initial call stood.

Indiana beat the Nittany Lions for the second time in 24 matchups, and beat a Top 10 foe for the first time since a 31-10 victory at Ohio State on Oct. 10, 1987.

And it took every trick in the book to get it done.

“All I’d seen was an opportunity, an opportunity to go out and show the world what the Indiana Hoosiers are all about,” Penix said. “They were playing man, so we’ve got to score to win the game and I wasn’t going to let my team down, so I went out and gave it my all.”

After Indiana failed to gain a first down after Sean Clifford threw a go-ahead 60-yard touchdown pass to Jahan Dotson with 2:30 left, coach Tom Allen instructed his defense to let Penn State score.

Devyn Ford obliged with a 14-yard run with 1:42 to go. Penix then took the Hoosiers down the field, scored on a 1-yard TD run with 22 seconds to go, added the 2-point conversion and eventually wound up in overtime after Jordan Stout’s 57-yard field goal came up short with 3 seconds left in regulation.

“In really six years at Penn State and 10 years of being a head coach, we’ve not been a team to commit penalties and we’ve not been a team to get turnovers, and tonight we had both,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “We finally got into a rhythm in the second half a little bit, but you can’t not play well on the road in the Big Ten against good opponents.”

Penn State made it 35-28 when Clifford hooked up with Parker Washington in overtime, but Whop Philyor caught a 9-yard TD pass for the Hoosiers and Penix won it when he dove for the goal line and the ball hit the pylon.

READ MORE: Officials Fear IU Football May Affect Local COVID-19 Rates

On Friday officials expressed concerns that crowds gathering to watch the game could over-crowd bars, as the stadium did not allow fans to watch in person.

“Irresponsible activity will not be tolerated," said IU COVID-19 response team head Kirk Irwin. "We just can’t have it. There’s too much at stake."

Indiana has reported the state’s third-highest single-day total of new coronavirus infections as the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state continues to rise.

The 2,519 new infections reported by the Indiana State Department of Health on Friday fell short of the 2,880 new infections the agency reported Thursday, which was a daily high of newly reported cases in Indiana.

The department’s daily update of its coronavirus dashboard also showed a higher percentage of Indiana’s ICU beds are filled than at any other point in the pandemic so far.

Almost 70% of beds are in use.​

Adam Pinsker and George Hale contributed to this report. 

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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