#10 Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Indiana Hoosiers
The Records: Penn State (7-2, 5-1 Big Ten); Indiana (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten)
The Head Coaches: Penn State: James Franklin, third season, 45-29 overall, 21-14 at Penn State; Indiana: Kevin Wilson, 25-45 record while head coach at Indiana and overall.
The Game: Penn State enters Saturday afternoon’s game with an 18-1 overall record against Indiana, dating back to 1993 when the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten. The lone victory for the Hoosiers came in 2013, when Indiana drubbed Penn State 45-21 in Bloomington.
Since then, the Nittany Lions have won two-in-a-row against the Hoosiers, allowing only seven points in each game.
Indiana, at 5-4, will be the last regular season opponent Penn State will face with a winning record as both Rutgers (2-7) and Michigan State (2-7) are well below .500. The Hoosiers come into Saturday afternoon’s game after beating Rutgers 33-27 last weekend.
Indiana’s offense is very pass-oriented, however, the Hoosiers tend to turn the ball over quite a bit, as evidenced by quarterback Richard Lagow’s 15-13 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Lagow and the offense currently average 27.1 points per game while averaging 468.8-yards per game.
While the Hoosiers will have only beat one team with a winning record at kickoff Saturday, their defense has played well under head coach Kevin Wilson. Indiana’s defense comes in allowing an average of 30.5 points in its last four games, however, it continues to limit offenses by holding opponents to 390.1-yards per game.
To beat the Nittany Lions, Indiana will need to slow down a Penn State offense that has scored on 14 of its last 18 drives. The Hoosiers will be faced with stopping a gauntlet of skill players the Nittany Lions employ on the offensive side of the ball, including running back Saquon Barkley who continues to rack up yards and touchdowns (he has 1,055 yards on the season to go along with 11 touchdowns.)
Penn State enters Saturday’s game on a tear, having won five games in a row and averaging nearly 40 points per game in that span. The win-streak has the Nittany Lions in the top-15 of every major poll as the sit at No. 14 in the USA Today Coaches poll, No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 10 in the College Football Playoff poll.
For Penn State to defeat the Hoosiers, the Nittany Lions will need their defensive front-seven to continue getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. With Indiana’s potent pass offense, Penn State’s secondary will be tested early — and often. Forcing the Hooisers to run the ball will be beneficial for Penn State as the team looks to extend its winning streak to six games.
Offensively, the Nittany Lions will need to follow the same recipe they’ve had for success during the win streak: Feed Saquon Barkley and make big plays. Should Penn State continue to do so, there should be no issue in them winning their sixth straight game.
Time: Noon EST
Location: Memorial Stadium; Bloomington, IN.
TV/Radio: ABC/ESPN 2/Penn State Radio Network
Prugar’s Prediction: Penn State, 52-10
Image credit: Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports