November 20 Philadelphia Inquirer:
LANDOVER, Md. – It has been a constant demand of Joe Paterno throughout Penn State’s up-and-down 2010 football season, the need to get game-changing plays from the special teams and defense.
Late in the third quarter Saturday, with the sputtering Nittany Lions locked in a tie with Big Ten cellar-dweller Indiana in a rather peculiar game, Paterno’s players finally heeded his wish.
Safety Andrew Dailey blocked a punt that walk-on linebacker James Van Fleet returned 21 yards for a touchdown. Three plays later, strong safety Drew Astorino intercepted a pass at the Indiana 43 that led to a field goal.
The Nittany Lions finally had some breathing room, and punched over a late touchdown to take a 41-24 victory over the Hoosiers before a predominantly Penn State crowd of 78,790 at FedEx Field.
Penn State (7-4 overall, 4-3 Big Ten) piled up 496 yards, with redshirt sophomore Matt McGloin passing for a career-high 315 and two touchdowns. After the Hoosiers (4-7, 0-7) had rallied from an early 14-0 deficit to tie the game at 17 and 24, the Lions defense held them to three first downs and 39 yards over the final 181/2 minutes.
But the spark that helped make the victory possible came from Dailey, a junior who played a lot Saturday in Penn State’s package of five and six defensive backs, and Van Fleet, a reliable special-teams performer.
Dailey, rushing from the left-end position, made a beeline toward Chris Hagerup after the punter had fielded a low, wide snap, and appeared to get to him before he even punted the ball.
“I might have gotten it on his drop actually,” Dailey said. “I know the rule is, if you hit the ball, you can hit the punter. I got there so fast, I just jumped all over everything.”
Van Fleet said his first thought was “I’ve got to tuck the ball away.
“I was hoping I didn’t get tackled from behind,” he said. “But I looked up at the screen to see who was around me, but it was my teammates so I just ran.”
The TD gave the Nittany Lions a 31-24 lead with 1 minute, 40 seconds left in the third. Penn State then got another big play on Astorino’s diving interception and drove to what would become Collin Wagner’s 35-yard field goal three minutes into the fourth.
“We made a couple of things happen today,” Paterno said. “Of course, there were a couple of things we didn’t make happen. I thought Indiana, in all fairness, played well.
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