Looking back on the memorable and historic seasons in Penn State football, the first year of the new millennium would be one of the last to come to mind. The Nittany Lions followed up a neutral site opening day embarrassment at the hands of USC with an even more embarrassing week 2 shellacking courtesy of Toledo in their own stadium.
However, when exploring the very one-sided match-up with the Indiana Hoosiers, the 2000 season produced one of the more entertaining tilts between the two teams. The game was a primetime match-up played at the RCA Dome, former home of the Indianapolis Colts. The Colt’s helmet and horseshoe even make a guest appearance at mid-field.
Without further ado, let’s look back on two mediocre teams who played a very entertaining game:
Game Summary / Highlights
Senior placekicker Ryan Primanti kicked the game-winning 39-yard field goal with 18-seconds to play to give Penn State a thrilling 27-24 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers in a primetime matchup at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
Senior PSU quarterback Rashard Casey helped author the dramatic finish. Taking over at their own-27 with 1:55 remaining and no timeouts, Casey calmly drove the Nittany Lions to the Indiana 22, completing 5-of-6 passes for 38 yards and picking up an additional 14 yds on a QB-draw.
Indiana, behind an option attack featuring QB Antwaan Randle-El and RB Levron Williams — struck first with Williams rumbling in from 25-yds out to give the Hoosiers a 7-0 lead. Penn State answered with a methodical drive capped off by a bruising 12-yard TD run by sophmore RB Larry Johnson. IU would retake the lead early in the 2nd-qtr but PSU responded with a 5-yard TD from Eric McCoo to tie the game 14-14 going into halftime.
A wild sequence in the 3rd-qtr included Indiana taking a 21-14 lead when Williams recovered his own fumble in the endzone and Penn State once again responding with a 2-yard TD pass from Casey to TE John Gilmore. After Penn State took their first lead of the night in the 4th-qtr on a 39-yard Primanti FG, IU answered with a 29-yard Andy Paine FG with less than 2 min remaining that tied the game and set the stage for Casey and Primanti’s heroics. Titcus Pettigrew’s interception on the game’s final play sealed the victory, the 321st of Joe Paterno’s career.
Rashard Casey finished the game 18-of-23, for 198 yds and 1 TD; Eric McCoo led PSU on the ground with 15 carries for 72 yards and 1 TD; Tony Stewart led the Nittany Lions with 7 receptions for 65 yards.
Antwaan Randle El completed 9 of 22 passes, for 88 yds and 3 Int, and rushed for 66 yds on 19 attempts. LeVron Wiliams led IU in rushing with 20 carries for 135 yds and 2 TDs.