Sep 21, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions players sing the alma mater after beating the Kent State Golden Flashes 34-0 at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State at Indiana Prediction Roundtable

After a week off, Big 10 play begins for the Nittany Lions this weekend in Bloomington, where they look to remain undefeated against Indiana.  The VBR staff gives us their thoughts on if Penn State will make it 17 straight over the Hoosiers.

Lead Editor Matt de Bear (@PSUMatt2005)

Penn State will face one of their stiffest tests defensively of the season against Indiana’s offense. Competition aside, the Hoosiers rank near the top of FBS in practically every offensive category.  The high tempo offense will be a challenge for a PSU defense that does not boast much depth.  With that said, the return of Mike Hull, at close to 100% is huge.  He will be key in slowing down IU.  On the other side, Indiana has yet top anyone, including FCS Indiana State.  Christian Hackenberg, Allen Robinson, and the stable of runningbacks have to be licking their chops to face this defense.

It will be high scoring, but Penn State will get the stops they need on defense to pull out an entertaining 48-35 game.

Co-Editor Barry Leonard Jr. (@barryleonardjr)

The easy pick is to simply say that the Nittany Lions will win this one. Penn State has never lost to Indiana and dominated the Hoosiers in Beaver Stadium last year. While I do think Penn State wins this one, the Nittany Lions have to be careful, as it could be closer than expected. Indiana has a potent offense that is tops in the Big Ten and eighth in the country with 348.5 passing yards a game. Of course, those numbers are a bit inflated by the fact that the Hoosiers blew out Indiana State 73-35 in the season opener and racked up 632 yards of total offense.
Penn State has had a week to work on some of its defensive issues and be prepared for the high-powered Indiana offense. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg has also had more time to learn and develop into the passer he’s projected to be.

I expect Indiana to put some points on the board, but the Nittany Lions will be too much to handle, as Indiana’s defense ranks near the bottom of the conference. Look for big days from Hackenberg, Allen Robinson and the three-pronged rushing attack of Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch. Penn State wins this one 42-24.

Staff Writer Eric Sion (@ericbsion)

Both Penn State and Indiana can (and probably will) light up the scoreboard, so whichever team can make more key plays on defense will probably win this game. Assuming Mike Hull is full-go for this game, that will be big for Penn State because he’s great in coverage. Not having Ryan Keiser for this game could hurt, but Penn State’s secondary has decent enough depth to make up for it. The Nittany Lion defensive line must get pressure on Nate Sudfeld or else he’ll shred John Butler’s defense just like Blake Bortles did. This game might come down to which team has the ball last or which team can force a turnover late in the fourth quarter.

Score: Penn State 38 Indiana 34

Staff Writer Corey Hunter (@realhuntdog23)

The Hoosiers rank second in the Big Ten in offensive scoring averaging 44.5 points per game, but their defense has surrendered a near conference worst 32.8 points per game.  Meanwhile, Penn State has given up only 14.5 points per game, good for 2nd best in the Big Ten.  No matter how you slice and dice this game, it looks like both teams should be able to move the ball and score lots of points.

Look for Indiana’s Big Ten best passing offense to test the Nitttany Lions secondary early and often, while the Penn State offense tries to go toe-to-toe in the trenches with Indiana’s league worst rushing defense.  In the end, the Penn State defense makes just enough plays to escape Bloomington with the victory.

Penn State 34  Indiana 31


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