BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Penn State came away with a much-needed win on Saturday, defeating Indiana 33-28 to break a two-game losing streak, and safety Nick Scott played a large role.
Scott, a captain and fifth-year senior, was indispensable in forcing two turnovers in the fourth quarter. On an Indiana punt return, he recovered a fumble forced by teammate Jonathan Sutherland. The play led to a touchdown that gave the Nittany Lions a 33-21 lead.
Later in the period, he intercepted a pass by Indiana's Peyton Ramsey with 4:35 to play. He also finished the game with seven tackles, five of them solo.
"That play, particularly Jon Sutherland did an amazing job of getting that ball out," Scott said of the fumble. "I didn't do anything on that play. I was literally laying on the ground and as I was about to get up the ball just fell on my chest."
Scott said the defense set a goal to get at least three turnovers in the game and they had exactly that against Indiana.
"Takeaways, they influence the game big-time, so the more you can get, the better," Scott said. "It also does a lot for our energy on the sideline, things like that, especially in a game like this where momentum is huge in tight games. So it was great that we reached our turnover goal. It's always three turnovers a game – at least."
Scott had an unfortunate misstep late in the game when Indiana's onside kick slipped through his hands and was recovered by the Hoosiers with 48 seconds to play, but the Nittany Lions held on.
"I decided to make it a little bit more interesting than it had to be," Scott said with a wry smile, "but regardless of the fact, I had 10 guys that had my back and we were able to finish the game. It's a great feeling, great for our confidence, and we're going to try to continue to do the same as a defense."
Shaka Toney, a Nittany Lions' defensive end from Imhotep Charter, said the defense looks to Scott for his leadership.
"Nick is that guy and he's been that guy," Toney said. "It was his turn to step up into the starter role. He is a guy that went out there and earned it. He really is a leader out there and we can depend on him to make plays."