BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Of all the information distributed to the media at Memorial Stadium late Saturday afternoon, there was one number that leaped off the final stat packet:
Yes, Penn State managed to run that many in a 16-10 tooth-pull victory over a stubborn Indiana team but one the Nittany Lions kept in the game with an uncanny display of offensive ineptitude.
If only the game were played between the 20-yard lines.
Penn State forced 10 punts, dominated time of possession (37:27-22:33), ran 17 plays more than they average and moved up and down the field at will only to self-destruct in the red zone.
On a day when any decent offense would have put up 40 points, the Lions settled for three short field goals, turned the ball over twice inside the 5, fumbled four times, had a touchdown wiped out by penalty and had to hold their collective breath as Indiana hurled a Hail Mary pass toward the end zone on the game's final play.
This is the same Indiana that just lost to North Texas - without Joe Greene - last week.
"We still continue to shoot ourselves in the foot," offensive coordinator Galen Hall said.
With a howitzer.
Joe Paterno seems to think it doesn't make any difference which quarterback, Rob Bolden or Matt McGloin, starts - even though McGloin totally outplayed Bolden on Saturday like he has almost all of this year.
Whether the Lions can afford the shuffle any longer, with nemesis Iowa in town Saturday and the meat of the schedule upcoming, is highly unlikely.
McGloin's 74-yard bomb to Derek Moye upped his lead in touchdown drives over Bolden to 32-15 over the last two seasons.
But the revolving-door sanction of the game's most important position is only part of the problem. Consider Paterno's reaction - while sitting in the coaching booth - to the McGloin to Moye pass.
"I'm yelling 'throw it to the tight end,''' Paterno said, forcing a smile. "When they threw it to the wideout, I was all upset - until I saw him catch it and run for the touchdown."
Despite throwing for 271 yards, and rushing for another 193, the Lions took way too long to gain full control - if they ever had it - against a Big Ten cellar dweller.
Twice Penn State was stuffed on second-and-2 and third-and-1 late in the fourth quarter, leading 16-10. Instead of running out the clock, the Lions gave Indiana a final chance.
"That's frustrating," Hall said. "The game should have been put away there. We have got to get some more push up front."
The offensive line is still in flux as Chima Okoli, battling an ankle injury and hit with another false start, was lifted for Mike Farrell. John Urschel and DeOn'Tae Pannell continue to rotate at guard.
"We moved the ball," tackle and offensive co-captain Quinn Barham said. "It was a matter of finishing in the red zone. We have to stop switching and get a consistent group in there, but we also know either guy can get the job done."
Despite a career-high in carries with 29 and his third 100-yard output of the season, Silas Redd called the game "bittersweet" because his lost fumble at the Indiana 2, with a 6-3 lead midway through the third quarter, contributed to the chaos.
"That's unacceptable," Redd said. "We've got to score in the red zone."
Redd had a touchdown called back by a holding penalty on the Lions' first possession.
"We can't afford to give up 14 points to be as good as we want to be and to compete in this conference," Hall said.
Paterno was at a loss to explain why his offense isn't further along through five games or its red-zone difficulties - "it's a mindset, maybe," he said - but he knows the defense, which lost another starter to injury Saturday (Stephon Morris), can't bear more of the burden.
For sure Iowa's defense will not allow Penn State 86 snaps this week.
"If you waste too many opportunities, sometimes you just don't have enough, your defense can't keep you in the game long enough," Paterno said. "I thought the defense played a good, solid game today, as they have all year."
Through the struggles of a year ago that resulted in a 7-6 record, the Lions' defense wasn't nearly as strong as it is now and, apparently, how it must remain.
"Our defense is playing very well," Hall said. "Thank heavens."
Rudel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.