Game Preview: Indiana
Jon Gross, Zach Seyko, Jason Marcus and Dylan Huberman break down this week's matchup against the Hoosiers.
It is now clear that Penn State can hang serious yardage on anyone. The Nittany Lions went into to Kinnick Stadium last week, and put up 597 yards of total offense against a Hawkeye defense that features one of, if not the best linebacking cores in the Big Ten.
The Nittany Lions notched a 21-19 win on a walk-off touchdown reception by Juwan Johnson, but now turn their attention to the Indiana Hoosiers for a 3:30 p.m. showdown on the Big Ten Network.
The Las Vegas Westgate Superbook gives Penn State and 18-point edge over the Hoosiers, a team that will most certainly not cover that spread if their run defense struggles continue.
Indiana ranks dead last in the Big Ten in average run yards allowed with a mark of 196.3 yards per game. The defense was shredded by J.K. Dobbins and Ohio State for 181 yards in week one than trampled on by FCS opponent Georgia Southern for a scorching 242 yards, though they did manage to win that game 52-17.
Saquon Barkley is the Hoosiers’ worst nightmare, coming off a 211-yard rushing performance, and breaking Penn State’s single game all-purpose yard record with a 358-yard tally. With the help of that outstanding game, Barkley has now also propelled himself to the frontrunner position in the Heisman race as well.
While Penn State may not have to worry about Indiana’s running attack, they will have to keep an eye on Senior quarterback Richard Lagow and his go-to big play target, Simmie Cobbs Jr.
ESPN’s lead college color commentator, Kirk Herbstreit, named this combo one of the best QB-WR combo’s in the country during their opening matchup with Ohio State and they certainly lived up to the honor.
Lagow threw for 410 yards and three touchdowns, with Cobbs Jr. catching one of those as well as racking up 149 yards. The redshirt junior wide receiver is also coming into this week’s game on a three-game touchdown streak after scoring once in the Hoosiers final non-conference game against Georgia Southern.
Cobbs Jr. is coming back to the Hoosiers after being out all last year with a knee injury, so Lagow will be looking to the former Biletnikoff preseason nominee to make big plays this weekend.
Penn State’s pass defense was a little suspect last week, allowing an average Iowa offense to score both of their touchdowns through the air, though one came at the heels of a Penn State turnover inside their own 35 before the first half expired.
However, the defense has been solid against the run and pass otherwise. They’ve allowed only 115 yards on the ground per game along with only giving up a meager 158 yards per game through the air.
This game has potential to be interesting coming out of the half similar to last year’s game in Bloomington where the Nittany Lions were down 24-21 entering the fourth quarter. Indiana has weapons that can compete with some of Penn State’s playmaker’s, but Penn State’s sheer number of weapons should be enough to outmatch the scrappy Hoosiers.
Travis Sutton is a sophomore majoring in telecommunications. To contact, email firstname.lastname@example.org