Penn State got a 16-10 win in its Big Ten opener against Indiana on Saturday in Boomington, Ind., but it didn't come easy. Quarterbacks Rob Bolden and Matthew McGloin struggled for the Lions and the offense made several key mistakes that left the door open for the lowly Hoosiers right down to the final snap.
The Nittany Lions twice turned the ball over in the redzone. One was a Bolden interception on Penn State's first drive of the game, the other Silas Redd fumble on the Indiana 1-yardline in the third quarter. If not for tough defense, those missed opportunities may have come back to haunt the Lions.
"We had some mental miscues," wide receiver Derek Moye told the Penn State Sports Network after the game. "I think we probably put a little too much pressure on ourselves."
Rob Bolden, who got his fifth start of the season against the Hoosiers, was 6-14 for 67 yards and that interception. McGloin saw slightly more success, completing 10-22 passes for 204 yards and a 74-yard touchdown to Moye late in the third quarter.
Running back Silas Redd gained 126 yards on 29 carries and Curtis Dukes chipped in 54 on nine carries.
All in all, the offensive numbers weren't all that bad, but those mistakes in key moment really kept the game closer than it had to be.
Fortunately for the offense, the defense took care of business in this one. The unit yielded just 10 points and 260 yards on the afternoon. It also forced a couple of key turnovers, an interception by Chaz Powell and a fumble recovery by Devon Still.
"Our confidence level is definitely high," Gerald Hodges told the Penn State Sports Network after the game. "I feel as though we can hold anyone."
The defense's performance on third down was vital to the victory, too. Indiana converted on just 6-20 third downs it faced on the day,
Penn State will now prepare to host its first Big Ten home game of the season against Iowa at Beaver Stadium next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. At 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten's Leader's Division, the Lions have about the start they were hoping for at the beginning of the season. Things won't continue this well, though, if they make many more of the mental mistakes they did at Memorial Stadium today.
Stay tuned for more post game coverage here at SB Nation Pittsburgh.