STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Quarterback Sean Clifford scored three touchdowns Saturday, leading No. 9 Penn State past No. 24 Indiana 34-27 to keep its playoff hopes alive.
Penn State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten, No. 9 CFP) next week plays at No. 2 Ohio State, where the top spot in the Big Ten East will be on the line.
Clifford also completed 11 of 23 passes for 179 yards and ran for 55 yards. Journey Brown rushed 21 times for 100 yards and added a score. With Penn State ahead by a field goal with 10:45 to play, Clifford led an 18-play, 75-yard drive that ate 9:01 and ended when he plunged in from a yard out to put the game out of reach.
Tight end Nick Bowers caught a 12-yard touchdown pass for the Nittany Lions.
Peyton Ramsey completed 31 of 41 passes for 371 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more for the Hoosiers (7-3, 4-3) who outgained Penn State 462 to 371.
After going three-and-out to start the game, the Nittany Lions recovered a muffed punt and scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Clifford to Bowers. Ramsey took advantage of a safety blitz on Indiana’s next possession and hit an open Ty Fryfogle for 38 yards to make it 7-7.
Jake Pinegar kicked a 47-yard field goal to put Penn State up 10-7, but Indiana took the lead when Ramsey capped a 63-yard drive with a 1-yard run less than three minutes later.
Clifford put Penn State up 17-14 with 1:03 left in the first quarter when he sprinted up the middle for a 38-yard score. Pinegar added a 27-yard field goal to give Penn State a 20-14 halftime lead.
Brown turned another Indiana turnover into a score when he raced 35 yards early in the third. Ramsey scored on another 1-yard run early in the fourth and Logan Justice kicked two field goals for the Hoosiers.
Both players lost their star receivers in the first half. KJ Hamler left in the first quarter after he returned a kickoff but didn’t appear shaken up as he walked off.
Indiana’s Whop Philyor had to be helped to the locker room after he was sandwiched between Penn State defenders, taking helmet-to-helmet contact from both and fumbling away the ball in the process.
Indiana: The Hoosiers kept Penn State’s offense off-balance most of the way. They also got stops on defense until they needed one most late in the fourth quarter.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions, who hadn’t allowed a first-quarter touchdown all season before last week, have now allowed four over their last two games. They continued to give up big plays but made enough adjustments at halftime.
Indiana hosts No. 14 Michigan
Penn State visits No. 2 Ohio State.