The Nittany Lions will take their five game winning streak into Bloomington for a battle with a stubborn Hoosiers team.
Penn State is up to 10th in the latest college football playoff rankings, but none of that means anything if they can’t get it done on Saturday. Indiana is playing good football, they’re beating the teams they’re supposed too, and hanging tough with teams superior to them, Penn State is in for a challenge. Much like the Purdue game, Penn State will be playing a noon game in a poor environment the week after playing a home night game, so the ” bring your own juice” mentality applies to this one.
Location: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
Time: Noon (EST)
Opponent: Indiana Hoosiers (5-4, 3-3)
Ranks: PSU- 12 (AP) IND- 54 (AP)
Last Meeting: 29-7 PSU (2015)
Line: PSU -7
Injuries: OT Brendan Mahon- out
Penn State is starting to deal with some injuries on the offensive line, and they’re going up against an improved Indiana defense. Urban Meyer has even complimented the Hoosiers’ defense this year, so you know they’re good, but luckily for Penn State, their offense is averaging over 34 points a game. The atmosphere at Memorial Stadium is not expected to be anything that will give Penn State problems getting their plays dialed up, but the team will have no energy to feed off of. We could be looking at an interesting first half.
Indiana deploys two quarterbacks, Richard Lagow is the starter, he’s the big arm QB with his 2,574 passing yards and 15 touchdowns, but he does have 13 interceptions, and I expect him to have more than that after Saturday. The Hoosiers counter Lagow with wildcat quarterback Zander Diamont, who is their spark guy if they need an awakening. Joining these two in the backfield is running back Devine Redding who has 793 rushing yards and three scores, the Diamont, Redding duo could be a cause for concern for the Nittany Lions. Their top receiver is 6’3 Nick Westbrook who has 41 catches for 708 yards and four TDs, expect Reid and Haley to get safety help in defending him. This group averages just under 470 yards a game, but they’re only scoring 27 a game, the reason, turnovers. Penn State must get multiple turnovers to keep this one out of reach.
Indiana’s defense is allowing 26.6 points per game, just a point more than the Nittany Lions are. This group gives up 225 passing yards a game and 165 rushing a game, so I can’t say that Penn State should come out and throw the ball, or run it, they have to stay balanced and use trick plays. The most points this group has given up is 38 to Ohio State, they haven’t faced an offense playing at the level Penn State is yet. I did notice that Indiana does struggle with running threat quarterbacks, they gave up 137 yards rushing to Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett when the two schools played, so that tells me that the read option with McSorley will be very important in this one. Saquon Barkley is by far the best running back Indiana will face all year, I’m not sure if he’ll get to 200 yards this week, but I think he’ll be productive in the passing game.
Indiana hasn’t been blown out all year, they’ve hung tough and I expect them to do that this week, but Barkley and the rest of Penn State’s talent will be able to make the big plays when they matter and allow Penn State to survive this one.
Prediction: Penn State 34 Indiana 26