Unlike RUTS, we're not looking past the Indiana Hoosiers here at BSD. This a 5-2 team with a 2-2 Big Ten record. Like Illinois, they see this as a statement game for their program to take a major step forward. As always, let's look at some film.
The Film Room
Here they are in the running game.
The first thing I noticed is holy crap does Minnesota look terrible. Too bad we don't have them on the schedule this year.
You can see most of their big running plays are keepers by Lewis. The Hoosiers don't have a very effective #2 option in the running game. They'll spread out the defense and use a lot of counters and misdirection to try to confuse the linebackers. This is why it's important that everyone know their assignments and stick to them. The first guy to get to Lewis has to wrap him up or slow him down long enough for the pursuit to catch up.
Now let's look at the passing game.
You can see that Lewis is a much bigger threat with his arm than Juice Williams, and James Hardy is a big time receiver with home run potential. The secondary is going to have their hands full containing this duo. And if they're not careful Ray Fisher can make them pay.
On defense the Hoosiers have two outstanding cornerbacks in Tracey Porter and Leslie Majors that will create problems for Anthony Morelli.
This may be a game where the Lions are forced to attack the middle of the field. Hopefully Andrew Quarless can get his head on straight and become the weapon we've been waiting all season to see.
Stats and Stuff
On offense you could say that Indiana holds a slight edge, but not much. It's virtually a tie. But on the defensive side of the ball the Nittany Lions hold a huge advantage.
We saw against Illinois that Penn State can give up a bunch of yards against a spread offense with an option quarterback. I think Indiana will get yards and points on Saturday. But the Hoosier defense is not nearly as good as the Illini defense at stopping the run. This should enable Penn State to control the ball and keep Lewis and Hardy on the sideline.
Special teams look pretty even, though Penn State holds a pretty significant advantage in net punting.
Penn State may try to control the tempo of the game by slowing it down and grinding it out against the soft Indiana run defense. But if Indiana comes out stacking the box like Iowa and Wisconsin did at the beginning of their games then Penn State will take it to the air to set up the run. But ultimately Penn State will settle into a ball control offense with long time consuming drives designed to keep Lewis and Hardy off the field. Michigan State did this with great success.
On defense it's essential that Penn State contain Lewis and not allow him to turn sacks into 30 yard gains. The defensive line has to be disciplined about staying in their lanes and keeping him in the pocket. The linebackers have to stick to their assignments and not fall for the counters and miss directions.
Ultimately I think Indiana will get a lot of yards and more points than we're all comfortable with. But I also think the Penn State offense will be able to exploit the Hoosier defense and Penn State will win this game in somewhat of a shootout.
|Statistical Category||Indiana||NCAA Rank||Penn State||NCAA Rank||Advantage|
|Rushing Offense (ypg)||176||42||185||31|
|Passing Offense (ypg)||235||53||223||65|
|Pass Efficiency Offense||143.0||22||128.4||59|
|Total Offense (ypg)||412||42||409||43|
|Scoring Offense (ppg)||36.0||23||32.7||38|
|Rushing Defense (ypg)||155||59||81||9|
|Passing Defense (ypg)||230||64||183||20|
|Pass Efficiency Defense||119.7||50||102.6||15|
|Total Defense (ypg)||385||63||264||7|
|Scoring Defense (ppg)||25.3||57||12.7||5|
|Net Punting (yards)||34.3||69||39.9||3|
|Punt Returns (yards)||17.2||7||13.6||22|
|Kickoff Returns (yards)||20.3||81||20.9||68|
|Sacks Per Game||4.6||1||4.1||2|
|Tackles for Loss||8.0||15||9.1||5|
|Sacks Allowed Per Game||2.3||79||2.0||64|