STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State’s offense finally found a way to be explosive when it mattered most on Saturday.
Drew Allar threw three touchdown passes, including a 57-yarder to KeAndre Lambert-Smith with 1:46 to play, and No. 10 Penn State’s defense forced a late safety to beat Indiana 33-24 on Saturday.
Allar hooked up with Khalil Dinkins and Tyler Warren for touchdowns and Nick Singleton ran for another score for the Nittany Lions (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten), who recovered after blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Penn State’s sophomore quarterback came up big after making a huge mistake that cost the Nittany Lions the lead.
“You can’t dwell on the past,” Allar said. “That’s why we play football, to have opportunities to go down and win the game in that situation.”
He threw his first career interception deep in his own end with 5:02 left. That set up Indiana kicker Chris Freeman’s tying field goal from 35 yards with 2:58 to play.
Penn State had only one passing play of more than 40 yards coming into the game, and it came in the opener. Coach James Franklin has been peppered with questions about opening up the offense as Allar’s receivers have struggled to get separation.
Facing a huge potential upset against a four-touchdown underdog, Allar went deep down the sideline to Lambert-Smith, who made an over-the-shoulder catch and tight-roped the sideline on the way to the end zone.
“I thought he handled it really well and delivered a big-time throw,” Franklin said of Allar.
Indiana’s last chance didn’t last long. Dani-Dennis Sutton came off the edge and blasted Brendan Sorsby, who lost the ball. After a several failed attempts to corral it, the ball bounced out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
Sorsby completed 13 of 19 passes for 269 yards with three touchdowns and an interception for the Hoosiers (2-6, 0-5 Big Ten), who lost their fourth straight.
Coming off a deflating lost at Ohio State last week, the Nittany Lions elicited about as many boos as they did cheers from their home crowd in the opening half.
The offense didn’t look much better than it did against Ohio State early, starting 1-for-6 on third down and with missed a field goal.
Indiana capitalized with two long touchdown passes to take a 14-7 lead.
The Hoosiers opened the scoring when wideout DeQuece Carter slipped past Penn State’s secondary and Sorsby found him for a 90-yard score. Two possessions later, Indiana’s Donaven McCulley was left uncovered by a blitzing defense and race unchallenged for a 69-yard touchdown.
Penn State took control in the second quarter after Singleton scored on a 2-yard run and Jaylen Reed intercepted Sorsby at midfield.
The Nittany Lions got a 50-yard field goal from Alex Felkins to take the lead moments after the takeaway.
Allar led a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ended with a 16-yard throw to Warren.
Indiana responded when Omar Cooper slipped a tackle for a 26-yard receiving touchdown to make it 24-21 in the fourth quarter.
“Very disappointed locker room,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “Guys are hurting. Played their hearts out.”
Indiana: The Hoosiers played their best game in a long time. They entered with the worst statistical run defense in the Big Ten and held Singleton and Kaytron Allen in check for the most part.
Sorsby made nice throws when he had time and also scrambled effectively. They’ll need to win their next four to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2020.
“We are in playoff mode now,” Allen said.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions looked sluggish, but found a way to avoid losing to Indiana for just the third time in 27 meetings and the first time ever in Happy Valley.
Cornerback DaeQuan Hardy returned two punts for scores in the last game at Beaver Stadium and ripped off another electric return on Saturday.
He juked his way for an 86-yard score that was nullified by an illegal block.
Star defensive end Chop Robinson did not play for Penn State. He was suffered an apparent head injury against Ohio State.
Indiana: Hosts Wisconsin on Saturday.
Penn State: Visits Maryland on Saturday.