Three takeaways from Indiana’s 24-0 loss at No. 4 Penn State on Saturday:
• Indiana had a chance to cash in some early points after safety Raheem Layne’s interception in the first quarter deep in Penn State territory. But on fourth-and-1 from the 3, running back Stephen Carr was stuffed for no gain, allowing Penn State to take over on downs.
The Hoosiers have struggled in short yardage for most of the season against Power Five opponents. A play-action call would have been risky but could have fooled Penn State.
Allen defended his decision not to kick a field goal with the same explanation he used on a failed fourth-and-1 conversion two weeks ago against Cincinnati.
“You are not going to win a game on the road against a high-ranked opponent kicking field goals,” Allen said.
Yet, Allen attempted a field goal down 21-0 late in the third quarter on a fourth-and-6 play inside the red zone, which was blocked. Allen made that decision based on the distance of the conversion.
“You play the percentages,” he said.
• Indiana’s defense showed plenty of resolve throughout the game, including when Cam Jones and Micah McFadden teamed up on a tackle at the 1-yard line to complete a goal-line stand.
Layne, with his first career interception, and Bryant Fitzgerald also stepped up in the secondary after cornerback Tiawan Mullen was scratched pregame with a leg injury and Reese Taylor suffered a leg injury late in the first half.
• Indiana has yet to prove the ability it can establish a run game against a major conference opponent.
The Hoosiers averaged just 2.9 yards per carry against Penn State, finishing with just 69 yards rushing. IU averaged just 2.5 yards per carry in its loss to Iowa and 3 yards per carry in its loss to Cincinnati.
“It starts up front,” Allen said.
IU will have a bye week to re-evaluate its ability to run the football before hosting Michigan State for homecoming Oct. 16.