Staff Predictions: Penn State vs. Indiana
Penn State rolls into conference play with a 4-0 record, including an early conference win over Wisconsin in Madison to start the season.
Over the years, Penn State has built a 22-2 edge in its series against Indiana. The Nittany Lions were undefeated against the Hoosiers up until 2013, and of course, last year, Tom Allen's team got the best of Penn State following a controversial decision to award IU quarterback Michael Penix Jr. a two-point conversion when it looked as if the ball had been down before hitting the pylon.
So, will Penn State get back to its winning ways against Indiana Saturday night?
Our staff gives its predictions below.
Nate Bauer (4-0)
After a hiccup of a week in which Penn State acknowledged that it didn’t perform at its best, Indiana should provide more than enough motivation, under the Beaver Stadium lights, to put on a show. The Nittany Lions’ defense is stout and shouldn’t run into any sustained success from this Hoosiers outfit. And while the running game still might not get off the ground, opportunities will be plentiful for explosive plays through the air.
Penn State 34
Greg Pickel (4-0)
Throw last year's game out the window, and instead focus on the fact that Penn State has never lost to Indiana in State College. It won’t lose this season, either. Hoosiers QB Michael Penix Jr. will get his yards, but the Nittany Lions have edges everywhere, and it will show over the course of 60 minutes.
Penn State 33
David Eckert (3-1)
I’m expecting this to be a relatively straightforward win for the Nittany Lions. Indiana has certainly made plenty of progress under head coach Tom Allen, but after the way the Hoosiers have started the season, I’m not sure they’re ready to win a prime-time road game against a top-five opponent. Quarterback Michael Penix has thrown six interceptions in two games this season against ranked opponents. If he can’t get that under control, this will be a blowout. If he can hang onto the ball a little better, I can see the Hoosiers turning this into a game, but I still see Penn State moving to 5-0.
Penn State 35
Matt Herb (3-1)
I never know how much importance to put on the “revenge” factor in games like this. It seems like the kind of thing that media and fans dwell on, and that may help keep players focused throughout game week, but doesn’t really matter once the ball is kicked off. I do think Penn State wins this game, but not because it lost in devastating fashion last year. It’ll be because the Nittany Lions are better on both sides of the ball than they were in 2020 and because Indiana’s offense, which has already thrown six interceptions this season, will have to operate in what amounts to a White Out environment on Saturday night.
Penn State 31
Ryan Snyder (3-1)
Penn State totaled just under 500 yards against Indiana's defense last year and somehow didn't win that game. Sean Clifford had a shaky start in Bloomington that day, but he wasn't the issue in that game, and I expect him to come out strong Saturday night.
One key stat I noticed with the Hoosiers this week is that their red zone defense is tied for the worst in the NCAA. They've allowed 10 touchdowns and four field goals in 14 attempts so far this season. Penn State's defense ranks 10th in the nation with just five touchdowns allowed on 13 attempts, although it should be noted that Wisconsin's two fumbles down near the goal-line skew that stat a bit.
The Hoosiers have played the run pretty well so far, ranking 36th in the nation, so I'm not sure if this will be the game in which Penn State gets rolling from that perspective, but I do expect Clifford to once again play a smart game. I could see the Nittany Lions getting up 14 or 17, with Indiana potentially scoring late for the backdoor cover. The spread is currently around 13 points. If you play it, I like Under 53 the most.
Penn State 28
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