No. 10 Penn State might be working through some pent-up frustration Saturday when it hosts Indiana in a Big Ten East battle. A week after falling 20-12 at Ohio State, the Nittany Lions will be looking to get back on the impressive trajectory they enjoyed during a 6-0 start — when they outscored opponents by an average margin of 36.3 points.
Playing the Buckeyes exposed some of Penn State’s offensive shortcomings, but a game against the Hoosiers should help get things back on track. IU’s only victories are against Indiana State and Akron, and it has lost its four Big Ten games by an average of 27.3 points. Most recently, the Hoosiers fell 31-14 against Rutgers after failing to score after halftime.
The visit from Indiana also marks a reprieve for the Nittany Lions before the schedule picks up again with a trip to Maryland and a visit from No. 2 Michigan in the coming weeks. If Penn State wants to have any choice when Wolverines roll into town, it must show that it can be more explosive offensively.
On the other side of this matchup, the Hoosiers should enter motivated for one final chance to slay one of the Big Ten’s big boys before entering a November schedule featuring four opponents that are currently unranked. Seventh-year coach Tom Allen is on the hot seat, and an upset of Penn State would go a long way toward changing the narrative around a program that is just 2-20 in the Big Ten over the past three seasons.
Penn State vs. Indiana: Need to know
Moving on: Penn State coach James Franklin said Tuesday that the Nittany Lions “haven’t gotten a whole lot of sleep” since the Ohio State game “for a number of reasons.” Franklin’s team squandered a chance to shine on the national stage, failing to score a touchdown until the final minute against the Buckeyes when the game was all but out of reach. Will they be able to flush that disappointment and take care of business as a heavy favorite in an early game?
How it starts: With these two teams, how it starts may not be how it ends. The Hoosiers scored first against Rutgers and trailed just 17-14 at halftime before losing by 17. Indiana also led 7-0 at Michigan two weeks ago and trailed just 21-7 at halftime before it was outscored 31-0 in the second half. By contrast, Penn State has developed a habit of starting slow. It led just 14-7 at halftime of an eventual 23-point win over West Virginia and led only 10-0 at halftime against Iowa before crushing the Hawkeyes 31-0. Most shockingly, the Nittany Lions were tied 10-10 at halftime in a noon game with Northwestern before winning 41-13 over the lowly Wildcats. Don’t be shocked if IU is within a score at the break in this one before Penn State shakes off the morning fog.
Deep shots? If Penn State quarterback Drew Allar even attempts a pass that travels more than 40 yards in the air, don’t be surprised to hear mock cheers at Beaver Stadium. The sophomore has attempted 223 passes this season, but according to TruMedia, just one of them has traveled more than 40 yards downfield in the air. That came in the fourth quarter against Northwestern once the Nittany Lions held a commanding lead. In fact, Allar has completed just four passes traveling more than 20 yards, making Penn State’s offense one of the least explosive passing attacks in all of college football. Is this the week the Nittany Lions finally open things up?
How to watch Penn State vs. Indiana live
Date: Saturday, Oct. 28 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Beaver Stadium — University Park, Pennsylvania
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
Streaming on Paramount+ with Showtime (Try It Free)
Penn State vs. Indiana prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Look for Penn State to play angry and inspired football after its ugly performance in a loss at Ohio State last week. As a one-loss team that gets a crack at Michigan in a couple of weeks, the Nittany Lions still harbor lofty ambitions and should waste little time returning to the dominant ways they enjoyed in the season’s first half. Indiana has shown it can hang around with quality opponents for a half, but it’s overmatched offensively and won’t have the firepower to keep up in the second half once the Nittany Lions begin physically imposing their will. Pick: Penn State -32
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