No. 4 Penn State-Indiana observations: Heisman hopeful Saquon Barkley does it all



STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Heisman Trophy hopeful Saquon Barkley returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and No. 4 Penn State built a 28-0 first-quarter lead en route to a 45-14 victory Saturday afternoon over Indiana.

DaeSean Hamilton also caught three touchdown passes, two from quarterback Trace McSorley and another from Barkley — as the Lions improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2008.

Hamilton had nine receptions in the game to raise his career total to 181, a school record. Deon Butler, who played at Penn State from 2005-08, held the previous mark (179).

McSorley went 23 for 36 for 315 yards and two TDs. He was sacked five times and intercepted once.

Barkley, who entered the game leading the FBS in all-purpose yards per game (253.3), finished with 205. He rushed for just 56 on 20 carries, but contributed 51 on four receptions, in addition to his kickoff return.

Indiana fell to 2-2.

• Backup cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields threw an early block on Barkley’s kickoff return, and Barkley then burst through the first wave of pursuit. At the 40, he juked kicker Griffin Oakes before outracing DeVonte Williams down the right sideline to complete the 98-yard play. It was Penn State’s first kickoff-return touchdown since Chaz Powell took one back 95 yards against Indiana State in 2011.

• The Lions recorded two special-teams touchdowns in a game for the first time since 2001. Besides Barkley’s return, safety Nick Scott scooped up a fumble by IU punt returner J-Shun Harris and took it 13 yards for a scorer. Backup wide receiver Irv Charles forced the fumble.

• In between those two TDs, Lions cornerback Christian Campbell pried the ball free from running back Morgan Ellison, with linebacker Jason Cabinda recovering at the IU 39. Two plays later, McSorley hit a wide-open Juwan Johnson for a gain of 24 on a crossing route, setting up a one-yard TD keeper by the quarterback with 11:41 left in the period.

• A roughing-the-punter penalty greatly aided PSU’s nine-play, 73-yard drive at the end of the quarter, as did Barkley’s one-handed catch of McSorley’s swing pass, followed by a 36-yard burst. McSorley later hit DaeSean Hamilton for an eight-yard TD, making it 28-0.

• The Lions’ promising start was followed by a flat second quarter, in which the Hoosiers outgained PSU 146-22 and scored twice, on Ricky Brookins’ three-yard run and Peyton Ramsey’s 18-yard pass to Simmie Cobbs, cutting the Lions’ lead to 28-14.

• PSU managed two first downs in that period, and McSorley threw his fourth interception of the season. The pick, by Jonathan Crawford, was the Hoosiers’ first of the season. They also recorded three of their four first-half sacks in the second quarter.

• Tyler Davis missed a 21-yard field goal early in the third quarter, and while he connected from 45 yards later in the period, missed a 42-yarder in the fourth. He is now 5 for 11 on the season. Beforehand he was 30 for 32, and both the misses were blocks.

• A flag was thrown after Hamilton caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from McSorley in the third quarter, as the receiver was jousting with IU cornerback Chase Dutra. The officials ruled that no foul occurred, however, and the score stood.

• Hamilton’s final TD came on a 16-yard option pass from Barkley with 4:13 remaining in the game.

• While Chasz Wright, the starting right tackle the first three games of the season, returned after missing last week’s victory at Iowa, Will Fries earned his first career start at that position. Fries had played most of the game against the Hawkeyes in relief of Andrew Nelson. Nelson, who has suffered injuries to both knees in his PSU career, did not dress against IU because of an undisclosed injury.

• Also returning for PSU was cornerback Amani Oruwariye, who sat out the two previous games with an undisclosed injury. He recorded a third-quarter interception and returned the ball 17 yards to the IU 21, only to see Davis miss his field goal.

• Tight end Mike Gesicki, a fixture on preseason All-America teams, also departed with what appeared to be a shoulder injury in the second quarter. He did not return.

• The Lions visit Northwestern (2-2) next week.

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