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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Maybe Indiana thought it had the game locked up when it was leading Penn State 20-10. Maybe the Hoosiers thought they could have gotten away with letting up a bit.

If they did, they turned out to be wrong.

The Hoosiers played an almost flawless 30 minutes of football in the first half, jumping out to the 10-point lead.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Senior quarterback Chris Dittoe used to be the man in charge of the Indiana offense. But now all he can do is stand on the sidelines with helmet in hand and watch redshirt freshman Jay Rodgers direct the Hoosiers.

Rodgers was able to lead Indiana to a 20-10 halftime lead against Penn State Saturday, but not much else. Under Rodgers, the offense found new life and made things exciting. For at least 30 minutes, anyway.

However, the Hoosiers (2-6, 0-5 Big Ten) didn't have it in them to make it exciting for the full 60 minutes, as they lost, 48-26, to the Nittany Lions (7-2, 3-2) on Saturday.

While the setting and actors change, the story of a flashy rookie replacing a seasoned veteran is a common one. But once again, the tale is evolving.

This time the setting is Bloomington, Ind., and the players are the Hoosier quarterbacks. In this scenario, Jay Rodgers is the flashy rookie replacing Chris Dittoe, the seasoned veteran.

Rodgers is a redshirt freshman. Dittoe is a fifth-year senior. Rodgers is the starter.

Still having doubts about which conference is best in the nation? How about the Big Ten? By the end of last week, three Big Ten teams were ranked among the nation's top six.

"The league is tough again, and I'd put it right up there with anybody," Indiana coach Bill Mallory said.

"The conference just gets better and better. Back when I came in, it was good, but nothing like it is now."

Hoosiers rebuild from 2-9

Indiana football coach Bill Mallory isn't one to dwell on the past. Which, taking into account his team's 2-9 overall record last year, may be a good gesture.

Chris Dittoe part of refined offense