Nate Stupar watched enough film of Indiana's punt return team to know a block was coming.
He just thought it would be from up the middle.
"When you keep constantly watching, you kind of see a hole in their team," Stupar said.
Instead, Stupar's punt block during Saturday's 34-7 win over Indiana was from the left side as the redshirt freshman from State College Area High School continued his excellent special teams play.
He deflected Indiana punter Chris Hagerup's punt from the Indiana 6-yard line in the second quarter's final minute with the game tied at 7. Stupar and safety Anthony Scirrotto lined up on the left side of the formation, and Stupar came unblocked inside when an Indiana blocker took on Scirrotto.
Stupar didn't realize initially he blocked the punt. He felt pain in his left forearm and thought it may have been broken until he saw the ball rolling around.
"The kicker was going full tilt on the kick in the end zone trying to boot it," Stupar said. "It kind of hurt."
Penn State recovered at Indiana's 20 and Kevin Kelly later kicked a 32-yard field goal as the Nittany Lions took a 10-7 lead.
"That was a big play, and it helped our offense get three points on the board," Stupar said. "I think that boosted our momentum going into the second half."
Stupar hasn't cracked Penn State's linebackers rotation often, but he has made a quick impact on special teams.
He blocked his first punt of the season against Michigan, and Penn State turned its next possession into three points during a 46-17 win. Weeks earlier against Oregon State, Stupar brought down punter Johnny Hekker behind the line of scrimmage as Penn State's offense began the next drive at the Beavers' 28-yard line and scored a touchdown.
"We're always sending him away," Scirrotto said. "He's always doing a good job putting pressure on the punter. ... He just has a sense for the ball. He's a playmaker."
Those plays have been on special teams this season. But next season, after Tyrell Sales graduates and coaches decide whether to play Sean Lee in the middle or outside, Stupar's impact could be on defense.
"He's a young player with a lot of potential," middle linebacker Josh Hull said. "He's one of those guys, who in the future years, you're gonna hear his name a lot."