STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Indiana will have to settle for milestones other than a bowl game to show the team’s improvement this season.
A 45-22 loss Saturday to Penn State eliminated any chance the Hoosiers had to play in the postseason.
Receiver Allen Robinson had three highlight-reel scoring catches and Matt McGloin threw for four touchdowns for Penn State in a win that left Indiana 4-7 (2-5 Big Ten).
With just a trip to Purdue left on the schedule, the Hoosiers lost a chance to get to six wins – the plateau needed to qualify for a bowl.
Cameron Coffman threw for 454 yards for Indiana on 33-of-59 passing for two picks to go with two touchdown passes. Shane Wynn had 12 catches for 108 yards.
We don’t like to lose bowl eligibility because of the season, the way we didn’t manage it, call or execute or get our guys ready to win some games, coach Kevin Wilson said.
Still, it has been a good season for the Hoosiers given they were 1-11 last year, losing all eight conference games. The annual in-state rivalry game against the Boilermakers will have to do as makeshift bowl game for this year.
We are lucky that we’re a school that has a great rival, Wilson said. It means a lot to their school for sure. I know it means a boatload to all Hoosiers.
Zack Zwinak added 135 rushing yards, but the Nittany Lions (7-4, 5-2 Big Ten) did most of their damage through the air against the porous Hoosiers.
Indiana did turn two turnovers into 10 points, including a 46-yarder from Mitch Ewald to get within 28-22 in the third quarter.
Zwinak rumbled in from 1 yard out on the ensuing drive to put Penn State back ahead comfortably by two touchdowns.
For Penn State, star linebacker Michael Mauti was carted off in the first quarter after hurting his left knee.
The emotional heart of the defense, Mauti was having a standout season before getting hurt while being blocked after appearing to get hit low by another Hoosier, running back D’Angelo Roberts.
A silent crowd rose to its feet and then applauded Mauti in unison as he was taken to the locker room, his hands on the front of his helmet. Injuries – one to each knee – already cut short two seasons for Mauti earlier in his career.
McGloin finished with a career-high 395 yards on 22-of-32 passing with an interception and eclipsed Daryll Clark’s single-season passing record of 3,003 yards.
Robinson set the school single-season reception mark with 73 after burning the Hoosiers for 10 catches for 197 yards, also a career high.
We’ve got to keep working defensively, Wilson said. We’re not at a point right now where we’re going to play shut-down defense, but we have to keep finding ways to keep playing better, that’s for sure.