The roles were reversed in 2021, a year after Michael Penix reached the pylon.
Fueled by a 2020 win over Penn State, Indiana had one of its best seasons as PSU’s slow start wrecked its season.
Now it’s the Hoosiers who started slow and Penn State has legitimate CFP aspirations.
While the Lions would like nothing more than to prove that the 2020 loss to Bloomington was a fluke, Indiana is hoping it can get back on the national map with a prime-time upheaval on the road.
INDIANA (2-2) at n Â° 4/6 PENN STATE (4-0)
- To start up: 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time
- Site: University Park, Pennsylvania, Beaver Stadium (106,572; natural grass)
- Television: ABC – Sean McDonough (pbp), Todd Blackledge (analyst) & Molly McGrath (sideline)
- Flux: Watch ESPN
- Radio: IU Football Radio Network
- Odds: Penn State is a 12 point favorite
- Weather at kick-off: 64 degrees, mostly cloudy, wind 3 mph, 4% chance of precipitation.
- Series: PSU leads the series overall, 22-2, including an 11-0 mark at Beaver Stadium. IU won the last meeting 36-35 in 2020 (watch)
- The coaches:
Tom allen is 26-24 (.520) in his fifth season as Indiana’s football head coach. His 24 wins in his first four years were the most important for an IU head coach during that time.
James franklin was 64-28 (0.696) in his eighth season at Penn State. Franklin was the head coach of Vanderbilt (2011-13) and is 88-43 (.672) overall.
TALE OF THE BAND
THE COMPLETE SLATE BIG TEN WEEK 5
|West Lafayette, Ind. (Conf.)||Television: BTN Statistics Radio: Purdue Sports Network Video|
|Madison, WI (Conf.)||TV: FOX Statistics Radio: Badger Sports Network Video|
|Champagne, ill.||Television: BTN Statistics Radio: Busey Bank Illini Sports Network|
|Piscataway, New Jersey (Conf.)||Television: Big Ten Network Statistics Radio: WCTC 1450-AM, WOR 710-AM, XM 196, Sirius 113, Scarlet Knights app Video|
|University Park, Pennsylvania. (Conf.)||Television: ABC Radio: IU radio network; Sirius 113, XM 196, Web 958 Video|
|East Lansing, Michigan||Television: Big Ten Network Statistics Radio: Spartan Media Network|
|Lincoln, Nab. (Conf.)||Television: BTN Statistics Radio: Huskers Radio Network Video|
WHEN PENN STATE AT FOOTBALL
Under the leadership of new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, the Penn State offense has taken a step forward in 2020.
Penn State has the No. 18 passing offense in the country, averaging 308 yards per game, and they are coming there with a wide variety of looks. The Lions will likely use a quick approach at least sometimes, especially after the IU movie released against Western Kentucky.
Quarterback Sean Clifford has been a starter for three years and is enjoying the best pace of his career. Clifford completed 71.7% of his passes for 1,158 yards and eight touchdowns against just two interceptions. He has been sacked seven times, signaling some degree of vulnerability with the protection up front. Clifford is a threat to shun. He ran for 119 yards and one scoring in 2020 against the Hoosiers, and 55 yards and two scoring in 2019.
Receivers Jahan Dotson (27 catches, 362 yards, four touchdowns) and Parker Washington (23 catches, 301 yards, two touchdowns) are the main threats. Indiana has some talented corners to take them on, especially if Jaylin Williams (concussion protocol) can play.
The running game hasn’t really kicked off at this point, with PSU opting to use playmakers like Dotson and Washington to shake things up with the short passing game. Nationally, PSU ranks 110th in rushing yards with 113.5 per game.
Junior Noah Cain is the top rusher with 164 yards on 48 carries (3.4 ypc). Sophomore Keyvone Lee was more efficient, picking up 100 yards on 20 carries (5.0 ypc).
WHEN INDIANA AT FOOTBALL
All eyes will be on IU quarterback Michael Penix, Jr., who threw six interceptions in the Hoosiers’ two losses but tallied for 373 yards in a fourth week of victory over Western Kentucky. Indiana cannot win this game unless Penix is ââfully recovered physically and mentally after a second ACL injury ending the season in 2020. The model for success on Saturday is his 2019 road performance against a very good one. Michigan State’s defense when he finished 33 of -42 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns without interceptions.
Penix will pitch against a high end secondary veteran who is the strength of the unit. Safety Jaquan Brisker is among the best in his job in the nation, and his fullback Ji’Ayir Brown delivered a winning interception against Wisconsin in Week 1.
Cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields has decided to return for another season with Brisker and is one of the best guys in Penn State when it comes to coverage. Joey Porter Jr. (the son of former Steeler Joey Porter) is a very physical and efficient corner.
Linebackers Brandon Smith, Ellis Brooks and Jesse Luketa are the top three tackles at 27.22 and 19 respectively. Luketa plays the hybrid linebacker / defensive bull position that Indiana uses. Smith and Brooks both play indoors. They are both returning starters with All-Big Ten potential.
The defensive line was the perceived weakness at the start of the season, with only one returning starter. But led by the transfer of Temple Arnold Ebiketie and his two sacks, the Lions were solid up front and put pressure on the quarterback. Nick Tarburton also performed at a high level.
Leos are aggressive, blitzing about 50% of their shots. They’ll undoubtedly use every trick in their bag to force Penix to make quick decisions.
Indiana has struggled to finish training lately, and it won’t be easier on Saturday. Penn State ranks No. 10 in the Red Zone defense.
Special teams played a big role in this series. Saquon Barkley opened the 2017 game with a kickoff return touchdown, and a long third-quarter kickoff return from Penn State in 2018 could have cost Indiana the game. In 2019, IU missed a punt, which led to a PSU touchdown in a one-scoring game. Indiana cannot afford to give up a special teams score or lose the revenue margin.
Penix appeared to take a turn against Western Kentucky, but a tough road environment against a much better defense will be the real test. The Hoosiers hang out in this one, but a lack of explosive games means they can’t support enough discs to pull it off.
TDH: STATE OF PENN 31 INDIANA 20
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS: PENN STATE 36 INDIANA 20
ATHLON: PENN STATE 31 INDIANA 17
PSU 247 (Medium) PENN STATE 35 INDIANA 17
ESPN SP + (computer) PENN STATE 36 INDIANA 15
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