The Nittany Lions will host the Hoosiers at Beaver Stadium this Saturday in the next-to-last game of the 2012 season. Will Penn State be hungover from last weekend’s contest in Lincoln or looking ahead to the finale with Wisconsin? Here’s what the VBR staff thinks about the matchup!
This game will be the first home game I won’t be able to see in person this year – thanks to Penn State’s early Thanksgiving Break – so hopefully I’ll wake up in time for the noon start the Nittany Lions have against Indiana. The Hoosiers are one of the weaker teams Penn State has faced this season, with Indiana coming off a horrendous 62-14 loss to Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions will be without breakout tight end Kyle Carter, as he is out for the rest of the season with a wrist dislocation. However, look for the rest of the tight end corps – led by Matt Lehman – to pick up the slack and contribute heavily over the next few weeks. In this weekend’s game, expect Penn State to come out firing on all cylinders – on offense and defense – in an attempt to shake off last weekend’s heartbreaking loss against Nebraska. I also don’t expect any officiating controversy in this game either, thankfully.
IU : 17
Penn State returns to Beaver Stadium for the final home-stand of the year. This week they take on the Indiana Hoosiers, a team Penn State has not lost to since joining the Big Ten. Penn State will need to shake off a blown 14-point halftime lead and replay-gate, if they want to finish out the year in strong fashion. The Hoosiers are coming off a tough loss to Wisconsin, but they are still in the hunt for a bowl game, needing to beat Penn State and Purdue to become eligible.
This may be one of the most resilient Penn State teams to come along in quite some time. Certainly there is disappointment in losing the way they did at Nebraska, but I expect this team to bounce back and play their final two games with a lot of heart!
Indiana ranks last in the Big Ten in rush yards allowed, total yards allowed, yards allowed per play, yards allowed per game, and total defense. Based on that info, I think Penn State should be able to move the ball! Look for the rushing attack to be featured prominently in the game. That means a heavy does of Zwinak, Zordich, and possibly even Bill Belton. The loss of Kyle Carter (dislocated wrist) hurts the Penn State passing game, but McGloin has shown the ability to get receivers other than Robinson involved. Look for McGloin to spread the ball around to players like TEs Jesse James, Matt Lehman, and WR2 Brandon-Moseby Felder.
Indiana leads the Big Ten in passing yards while Penn State is nursing some injuries in the secondary. Look for Indiana to try and exploit those perceived deficiencies, but I think the Penn State front seven will be able to generate enough of a pass rush, to make QB Cameron Coffman uncomfortable in the pocket.
In the end, Penn State will score 3 rushing touchdowns, and McGloin will throw for 2 more. The defense will bend, but not break, but I’m not sure they will be able to cover the 17.5 points they are giving up this week, but it will be close!