Penn State left Bloomington, Indiana with a 45-31 victory, but the outcome was far from established as the Lions trailed 24-14 with 3:13 left in the third quarter.
The first half was so boring that the TV network concentrated more on how some kids were going to get a football out of a pine tree near the stadium. At one point, there were three footballs stuck in the fir tree, because some future brilliant IU students thought the best way to get the ball out of the tree was to throw more balls at it. Amazingly, this did not work. But just so you can sleep tonight–they got all the balls safely out of the tree. And we know this because of the stellar off the sideline reporting. At least, the TV network this week showed the correct game.
The dramatic come from behind win over the Buckeyes–faint memory of the past, fading with each tick of the clock as the Hoosiers out-gained us, out-first downed us, and in the end, ultimately out-fumbled us. Total domination over Iowa a week before–may as well have been centuries ago. Football wasn’t even invented then.
All of the good feeling of this resurgent season came to rest on this team as they mounted a 5 play, 74 yard drive scoring drive in 1:41 to pull within three points before going into the final quarter of play.
As we sat in Champs to watch Indiana play us to a 14-14 draw at the half way point, I mused that we were definitely a second half team. We always seem to play better in the second half. We make adjustments. Just wait.
As we fell behind by 10 late in the third, I was amending my assessment. We are a fourth quarter team. We always play better in the fourth quarter. If we go into OT then we will definitely be a better over-time team. We are like wine–we get better with age.
Something had to be done. During the Ohio State game, my niece, sitting behind us, somehow managed to spill her hot chocolate on us, if you define spill as splattering us from head to toe (yes, we were wearing white jackets!), the people in front of us, and the lady across the aisle. It was like being in the Shamu splash zone. But it somehow was the pivotal point where Penn State started took control of that game.
In the second half of the Purdue game, we ordered victory egg rolls. And Penn State rolled to a victory over the Boilermakers. Do you see a pattern here? I don’t either. I am digressing at an alarming rate, and I appear to be obsessed with food and drink.
Hot chocolate wasn’t on the menu. I was reluctant to put that much pressure on egg rolls again. They can only handle so much, you know. So I ordered a pretzel.
The team came alive as I enjoyed that soft pretzel. McSorley added some razzle dazzle flea flicking passing and the Lions surged ahead. But Indiana would not stop.
THEY. WOULD. NOT. STOP. Were they not the least bit distracted by the football eating tree in the back of the endzone?
They were relentless. They were really starting to irritate me. Die Hoosiers! Die! All hail the magic pretzel. My friend ordered a pretzel, and Penn State surged ahead once again after the annoying Hoosiers took back the lead 31-28.
In the end, the defense came up with the biggest play of the day, stripping Indiana’s QB of the ball and then scooping and scoring the final seven points to cap victory number 8. I wonder if Torrence Brown had a pregame pretzel?
Later, John sent out this text to some of his other buddies:
Down 24-14 and things looking bleak my friend Todd made what at the time seemed like a selfish move by ordering a bowl of soup and a pretzel. What I didn’t know at the time was the pretzel was a good luck pretzel. As soon as it hit the table the comeback started.
After Michigan lost to Iowa, he texted me:
That pretzel looks even bigger now.
Harbaugh losing capped a wonderful day of football. Pitt upset Clemson and USC took out Washington, as numbers 2,3 and 4 all fell. None of those teams fell behind us in the polls, but we moved up to 9th in the AP poll as Auburn tumbled out of the top ten.
Penn State opened as a 24.5 point favorite over Rutgers. The Scarlet Pimpernel’s are coming off a 49-0 loss to the Spartans, which is MSU’s first and only Big Ten win on the season. RU notched wins over New Mexico and Howard (the football team not the duck,) solidifying Rutgers claim to being the Birthplace of (REALLY BAD) football.
GO STATE! BEAT KNIGHTS!