(Saturday, November 14th)
Final Score: (19) Penn State 31, Indiana 20
University Park, PA (Sports Network) - Navorro Bowman's 73-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter helped 19th-ranked Penn State to a 31-20 victory over Indiana in a Big Ten showdown at Beaver Stadium.
Daryll Clark threw a touchdown pass and added a rushing score for the Nittany Lions (9-2, 5-2), who rebounded from a rough first half and have won at least nine games in a season for a fifth consecutive year. Penn State will close out the season against Michigan State next weekend in East Lansing in a battle for the Land Grant Trophy.
Nittany Lions running back Evan Royster ran for 95 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, while hauling in four passes for 39 yards and a score.
Hoosiers quarterback Ben Chappell threw for 298 yards and a pair of TD passes with an interception, as Indiana (4-7, 1-6) suffered its fourth straight loss and seventh in eight tries. The Hoosiers will wrap up the 2009 campaign at home next week versus Purdue. Damarlo Belcher chipped in 95 yards and a touchdown on nine reception in a losing effort.
"Give [Penn State] a lot of credit. That is an outstanding defensive football team that they have," Hoosiers head coach Bill Lynch said. "I am really proud of our guys and how they played and the way they came and competed."
Following a turnover-filled first half for Penn State, the Nittany Lions caught a break midway through the third quarter when star linebacker Bowman intercepted a Chappell pass and rumbled 73 yards for a touchdown. The PAT kick was good and gave PSU its first lead of the game at 17-10.
The Nittany Lions got a strong stand from their defense and later pushed the lead to 24-10 on Royster's two-yard touchdown run seconds into the fourth quarter. It was Royster's 23rd career rushing touchdown.
Indiana stopped the surge on Nick Freeland's 38-yard field goal at 10:43 of the fourth quarter to make it 24-13. Clark's one-yard TD run late in the final stanza made it 31-13, and Chappell fired a six-yard touchdown pass to Tandon Doss to complete the scoring at 31-20. Doss had eight catches for 68 yards.
Indiana had a promising opening drive, only to watch it stall deep in Penn State territory. Freeland then opened the scoring on a 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead just over five minutes into the game.
Clark was then picked off by Matt Mayberry on the Lions' initial drive of the game, resulting in seven more points for Indiana. Chappell hooked up with Belcher on a 26-yard scoring strike for a 10-0 advantage with less than six minutes to go in the first quarter. Trea Burgess ran for two yards on fourth down to keep the chains moving for Indiana.
The Lions got the ball back, but Clark had the drive cut short with his second interception of the game. Hoosiers safety Nick Polk came away with the pick before the Indiana offense was forced to punt. However, the turnovers continued for the Lions as punter Chris Hagerup recovered a fumble by Penn State return man Drew Astorino to give the Hoosiers possession.
Penn State finally reached the scoreboard on a 33-yard field goal by Collin Wagner with 2:52 to go in the first half. Burgess then recovered another fumbled punt by Astorino to set up the Indiana offense deep in PSU territory, but eventually Freeland's 47-yard attempt was wide right to keep it 10-3.
The struggling Nittany Lions put together a decent series to even the score at 10-10 on Royster's 13-yard touchdown catch with six seconds to go in the second quarter. Curtis Drake's 26-yard run helped set up the score.
"Don't taking anything away from Indiana. Indiana is a really good first-half football team," PSU head coach Joe Paterno said. "They wear down a little bit. They needed a few more people [in the second half]."
The Nittany Lions have won 19 of their 20 Senior Day games since 1990. The lone loss came to Michigan in 1999...Clark, a senior, ended 17-of-28 for 194 yards with a pair of interceptions...PSU tight end Andrew Quarless had 39 yards on three catches...PSU had 375 yards offense, while IU posted 346...Chappell completed 32 of his 51 pass attempts.
11/14 17:19:01 ET