Penn State Football: Predictions for the Nittany Lions against Indiana

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: James Franklin and the Penn State Nittany Lions prepare to take the field against the Georgia State Panthers at Beaver Stadium on September 16, 2017 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: James Franklin and the Penn State Nittany Lions prepare to take the field against the Georgia State Panthers at Beaver Stadium on September 16, 2017 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Can Penn State football avoid a let down this week at home after a stunning comeback victory against Iowa?

Penn State almost saw its championship hopes go down the drain last Saturday night in Iowa City. Fortunately, Trace McSorley completed all seven of his passes on the final drive and hit Juwan Johnson in the end zone as time expired.

Now the Nittany Lions head back home and turn their attention to the Indiana Hoosiers, a team that played very tough in last year’s meeting. Indiana took a lead into the fourth quarter before eventually allowing Penn State to come back for the victory.

There’s a lot of excitement around the Nittany Lions this year, especially after gutting out a victory like the one last week.

Can Penn State keep it rolling this week and avoid a let down at the hands of the upset-minded Hoosiers?

Barry Leonard, Co-Site Expert 

I’ll start with the fact that my heart won’t be able to handle many more games like last week. While I knew it wouldn’t be a cake-walk against Iowa, I certainly didn’t expect the ending we got. I can’t handle more excitement like that this week, so here’s hoping for a much easier time.

Yes, Indiana took a lead into the fourth quarter last year, and yes, the Hoosiers looked better than Ohio State for two quarters to open this season, but don’t worry. A banged-up defense that already ranks as one of the worst in the Big Ten won’ be able to handle the Penn State offense.

The Nittany Lions racked up over 500 yards last week, but scored just 21 points. That’s a concern, but it’s not anything that can’t be fixed. I’m sure the offense spent a long time watching film this week and will be good to go Saturday.

As for the game itself, look for another day of nearly 300 all-purpose yards from Saquon Barkley. Indiana is allowing nearly 200 yards a game on the ground, so Barkley should find a lot of room to make plays.

Trace McSorley will exploit an Indiana secondary that will likely be missing a few starters. A 300-yard game by the signal-caller isn’t out of the question.

Penn State’s defense has been overlooked this year, but make no mistake about it, the Nittany Lions are very stingy when it comes to giving up points. Indiana will likely move the ball with it’s dangerous passing attack, but the Hoosiers won’t be able to keep up with the Nittany Lions.

A convincing win will help the Nittany Lions end the first month of the season undefeated.

Penn State 42
Indiana 17

Marty Leap, Contributor 

After a thrilling – and nearly heart-stopping – 21-19 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes this past Saturday the Penn State football team returns home to Beaver Stadium at 3:30 on Saturday afternoon. The Nittany Lions will play host to the 2-1 Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday and, despite being big favorites, Penn State better be ready to play.

Led by quarterback Richard Lagow and wide receiver Simmie Cobbs the Hoosier offense is one of the best Penn State will see this season. Lagow and the Hoosier passing game will put a lot of pressure on Penn State secondary on Saturday afternoon. However, the Nittany Lions secondary is arguably the best in the Big Ten and will be up to challenge.

After struggling for much of the game last week I look for the Nittany Lion offense to bounce back on Saturday afternoon. The Heisman Trophy has become Saquon Barkley’s to lose, look for Barkley and the Nittany Lion coaching staff to keep adding to his Heisman resume on Saturday. Furthermore, the Indiana secondary is dealing with injury issues and is prime to be ripped apart by Trace McSorley and the passing game.

Look for Penn State to have a bit of a hangover from the emotional win over Iowa and start slow on Saturday as a result. This will allow the Hoosiers to hang around for 2-3 quarters before Penn State wins it going away. Penn State is 18.5 point favorites over Indiana and the Nittany Lions will just barely fail to cover the spread.

Penn State 42
Indiana 24

Shane Lunnen, Contributor 

After a big win on the road last week against Iowa, the Lions return home for their home conference opener against Indiana. It’s also their Generations of Greatness game where they will wear throwback uniforms. Love the numbers on the helmets.

Indiana’s passing offense will be a big test for a Penn State secondary that has been great so far. Quarterback Richard Lagow is the starter but the Hoosiers also utilize freshman Peyton Ramsey. Lagow has a cannon for an arm while Ramsey is more of a rusher but can also throw it too. He has 3 touchdown passes on the season, one behind Lagow, and has yet to throw an interception. Wide receiver Simmie Cobbs is the main target of the quarterbacks and he has been solid through three games.

On defense, the Hoosiers are ok but not great against the run. They have given up nearly 200 yards on the ground per game this season. In last year’s game in Bloomington, the Hoosiers held Saquon Barkley relatively in check. He scored 2 touchdowns but had only 58 yards on 33 carries. It was his lowest yards per carry average of the season, the Michigan State game withstanding because of the injury he suffered. Barkley probably wants another crack at them and I think he’ll have a better game this year.

With all that said, I think Penn State keeps the good times rolling this week. Indiana will put together a few productive drives, but in the end, Penn State’s offense will prove to be too much. Barkley puts together another solid game with over 200 all-purpose yards and Trace McSorley tosses 4 touchdown passes. Penn State stays undefeated and I’m hoping we get to see the numbers on the helmet more often in the future.

Penn State 38
Indiana 24

Joe Ciminera, Contributor

After last week’s pulse-pounding win at Iowa, Penn State will be thrilled to return to the friendly confines of Beaver Stadium to duel with Indiana.

Indiana is 2-1 on the year, and hung with Ohio State for three quarters in their opening game of the season before ultimately falling to the Buckeyes. Since then, Indiana has been bitten by the injury bug, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They have a banged up secondary and defensive line which Penn State will be able to take advantage of.

The geniuses in the national media have finally decided to actually watch the games, and low and behold, they discovered Saquon Barkley is pretty good. The added media attention will not rattle the Heisman favorite, and he’ll have a monster game as he puts last seasons struggles with Indiana to bed.

Quarterback Richard Lagow left the Hoosiers game last week with an apparent lower leg injury, but he will be good to go against Penn State. As always, pressuring him will be key. Keeping standout receiver Simmie Cobbs at bay will be a test for the Penn State secondary as he will be the best receiver they’ve seen thus far.

I think the defense steps up and the offense takes full advantage of Indiana’s injuries. This one won’t cause you to go grey.

Penn State 38
Indiana 13

Corey Hunter, Contributor

This week poses an interesting pivot game for the Lions. Last week they barely escaped the upset at Iowa and next week they travel to Northwestern.

Indiana poses a unique threat because of the tempo of the their offense. Quarterbacks Richard Lagow and freshman Peyton Ramsey have already thrown a combined 119 passes while the Hoosier running backs have  93 rushing attempts. Penn State will have to be ready for the speed of Indiana’s offense and to have subs quickly ready to enter the game.

The Hoosiers have notoriously been a pain in the side of the Nittany Lions. Their offensive skill players, especially their wide receivers, have always proven to be a tough for the Lions to handle. This year Indiana features wideout Simmie Cobbs, Jr and Tight end Ian Thomas. The inside-outside duo have combined for 29 receptions, 391 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

Penn State is vulnerable over the middle and Ian Thomas could have a solid game on Saturday.

In the end Penn State, like most years, has too much talent and ability for Indiana to overcome. The Lion’s struggle in red zone efficiency and place kicking could become a problem if not addressed soon. Penn State will find a cure for its ills this weekend.

Penn State – 34
Indiana – 17

Kyle Zartman, Contributor

Penn State returns home to Beaver Stadium this Saturday afternoon to face off against the Indiana Hoosiers. The Nittany Lions avoided a disastrous loss last week to keep their record unblemished at 4-0. The Nittany Lions, and their fans, are hoping last week was just an aberration and they won’t face a close call like that again this weekend.

The Hoosiers come into State College on Saturday with a 2-1 record, with their lone loss being against conference foe Ohio State. Indiana has also defeated a surging Virginia Cavaliers team and most recently, Georgia Southern.

The game plan for Saturday should be a heavy dose of Saquon Barkley, who set single-game career highs for rushing and all-purpose yards against Iowa. Head Coach James Franklin and Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead should do whatever possible to get Barkley as many touches as possible. The more Barkley has the ball, the better chance he has to dominate and add to his potential Heisman Trophy campaign.

I expect the Iowa game to be used as motivation this Saturday for the Nittany Lions. They will look to score early and often. The Hoosiers will get their points but ultimately Penn State will prevail and get their second conference win while upping their overall record to 5-0.

Penn State-42