After a week off and four non-conference games in the book, the Penn State Nittany Lions begin conference play against a foe they have never lost to. Though the Indiana Hoosiers have a bad history against Penn State, this game could be closer than in years past. Indiana has a potent offense that has shown the ability to put up a lot of points and tons of yards.
If you can’t get to a TV, the game is streaming live on BTN2Go.
Below are some of my thoughts as we approach kickoff in this conference road test.
- The Penn State defense has struggled a bit at times this season. In their only loss of the season against Central Florida, the Nittany Lions gave up 507 total yards. Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns in the game. Today, Penn State matches up with an Indiana offense led by quarterback Nate Sudfeld that ranks eighth in the nation with 348.5 passing yards a game. This will be a true test for the Penn State secondary and something to keep an eye on as the game progresses.
- Quarterback Christian Hackenberg is just four games into his collegiate career, and he’s shown several flashes of why he was a highly sought-after recruit out of high school. After a tough outing in the pouring down rain against Kent State, he’ll look to bounce back against the Hoosiers who have been vulnerable against the pass this season. Hackenberg has great arm strength and several good weapons to throw to. Expect a rebound game and some big numbers through the air today from the young quarterback.
- Penn State has found its groove on the ground by using a mix of three talented runners. Zach Zwinak, Akeel Lynch and Bill Belton have all contributed at some point this season. Zwinak leads the team in carries, yards and touchdowns. He’s already scored eight touchdowns this year, including back-to-back three-score games. While Zwinak gets all the scores, Lynch is actually the one who’s looked the most impressive. Against Kent State he led the team in carries and yards despite receiving the majority of his carries in the fourth quarter. It’s anyone’s guess who gets the majority of the carries and racks up the most yards today against an Indiana defense that’s been terrible against the run this season.
This game should be tight for a while, as Indiana has the potential to put up a large number of points on a Penn State defense that’s struggled at times this year. Fortunately for the Nittany Lions, the Hoosiers are one of the worst defensive teams in the conference. Look for a big day from the Penn State offense in a game that will see both team put up a high score.
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