IU(2-2) vs The Pennsylvania State University(3-1)
Series History: By any reasonable definition, IU is due. 0fer. 0 for 16. Just like three weeks ago, IU is looking for its first win over the opponent in series history.
What did we learn last week? That it was a good thing we all had a week off after the stinkburger the Hoosiers put up against MIZ-ZOU! SEC SEC SEC!
Right. So forget last week. What’s on tap this week? The Nittany Lions, in year two of the “Joe Pa? No I don’t know anyone named Joe Pa, never heard of him” campaign, took care of the pre-conference foes to the tune of a 3-1 record. They own wins over Syracuse and a couple of MACrifices but lost a close home game to Central Florida of the DNC-USA. True Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg has shown solid accuracy, completing 63% of his passes for just over 1,000 yards. Allen Robinson has caught 26 passes so far for 448 yards as he continues to climb the PSU record books. Zack Zwinak and Bill Belton look to continue Penn State’s fine tradition of running backs running through, over, around, and past the IU defense. Zwinak’s had about twice as many carries, but Belton is averaging an impressive 7.7 yards per game. Defensively, the Nittany Lions are coming off a shutout over Kent State, but Central Florida was able to score 34 on them the week before. There doesn’t seem to be a standout linebacker like in years past, but Glenn Carson does lead the team with 29 tackles thus far.
And what of the home team: Well at least they have some experience responding to adversity. I’m sure the loss to MIZZOU was character building and that’s important. Like it or hate it, for the near future, this team is going to have to hang it’s hat on simply scoring a lot of points. With that in mind, it would be beneficial if the quarterback competition was actually you know over and Nate Sudfeld declared the victor. It’s not that Sudfeld’s been great every time he’s played. In fact, he clearly had his worst game two weeks ago. It simply that for what this offense does, he’s clearly emerged as the best quarterback. Tre Roberson can be a useful part, but he has to be used correctly, and the rest of this offense just doesn’t mesh up with the skills that he provides over Sudfeld.
I honestly believe the coaching staff has been guilty of over thinking the opponent in both of IU’s losses. IU is 8th in the nation in Passing Yards/Game. They have a deep and talented receiving corps. Nate Sudfeld can throw just about any pass asked of him. Realistically, the passing game is the only thing they’re exceptional at. So instead of working towards more balance or trying to game plan around the opponents, the Hoosiers need to plant their flag in the sand and say, “This is what we do well.” Then let everything else fall where it may.
Defensively, Greg Heban kept a blowout from being worster blowout with two picks in the first half against the Tigers. The secondary, usually IU’s most glaring downfall, has actually performed reasonably well this year. Junior cornerback Tim Bennett is first in the nation with10 passes brokent up. IU’s done a decent job of generating sacks, 10 for the season, but the defensive line has been annihilated in the two losses. It’s not a new problem, but IU simply needs to have better play from its front 7 if it harbors any hope to winning 4 B1G games.
Scouting Future Opponents:
Michigan State(10/12) travels to Iowa
Michigan(10/19) hosts Minnesota(11/2) in the battle for the Little Brown Jug.
Illinois(11/9) travels to Nebraska.
Prediction: Seriously, what are the odds IU loses 17 in a row? Oh right, they’re pretty good, hmmm. IU will score some early and put a scare into the Nittany Lions but Penn State will be too much in the end and win 34-30.