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Penn State at Indiana: The Objective Primer and Rankings Roundup

Penn State Nittany Lions (3-1, 0-0 Big Ten) at Indiana Hoosiers (1-3, 0-0 Big Ten)
12:00 p.m., October 1, 2011
Memorial Stadium (Capacity: 52, 929)

Welcome, October! Along with the leafers and hipster debates over the best pumpkin ales, we get conference play in the Big Ten. The cupcakes are over...for most.

This week, Penn State travels to Indiana for what is technically the second consecutive road game in this series, though last year's 41-24 drubbing at the hands of the Nittany Lions at FedEx Field in Washington D.C. didn't seem like much of a home game for Indiana. The addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten meant that the schedules had to be slightly re-worked, so you get Indiana (and Ohio State) on the road again in 2011. Fortunately for the dinged up Lions, yours truly, along with the rest of the BSD staff, could suit up and probably make it a pretty close game (we do have a former All-American punter and former PSU football walk-on defensive back in our midst).

Penn St.   Indiana
137 (75) Rushing Offense 139.5 (71)
209.5 (76) Passing Offense 274.25 (36)
111.93 (100) Passing Efficiency 134.44 (60)
346.5 (89) Total Offense 413.75 (58)
25 (81) Scoring Offense 27.5 (71)
100.75 (30) Rushing Defense 189.75 (98)
148.25 (7) Passing Defense 197 (37)
249 (8) Total Defense 386.75 (78)
12.5 (10) Scoring Defense 26.5 (73)
1.75 (66) Sacks .25 (T117)
1 (T25) Sacks Allowed 3 (105)
7.25 (27) Tackles for Loss 4 (T107)
0.5 (T33) Turnover Margin 0.5 (T33)
7.4 (65) Punt Returns 7.25 (66)
21.57 (65) Kickoff Returns 15.31 (119)

Penn State and Indiana, by the numbers:

  • Redshirt sophomore Edward Wright-Baker is the man under center for the Hoosiers, at least until all-everything recruit Gunner Kiel steps on campus next year. Along with Gunner's brother Dusty, the Hoosiers have put together a decent air attack, with six touchdowns to only two interceptions.
  • The rushing games are even, for different reasons. Indiana simply doesn't have a rushing attack with an identity, as their quarterback is tied for second most carries on the team. Penn State, on the other hand, can't seem to open any holes for their talented running backs. Silas Redd has an impressive 4.9 yards per carry number, but that could be even higher with some decent run blocking.
  • Both teams seem to be allergic to the end zone, on paper at least. Granted one of Penn State's games was against one of the best defenses in the country, but an 81st ranked scoring offense isn't going to get this team through Big Ten play without a lot of headaches.
  • As you can see, and surprising exactly no one, Penn State has been earning a living on defense this year, with Top Ten rankings in Passing, Total, and Scoring Defense. Conversely, Indiana's defense is beyond atrocious. They rank 98th or higher in three defensive categories, a welcome sign for an offense just starting to come into its own.
  • The Penn State return game has become exceedingly mediocre since the opening kickoff of the season. Indiana's kickoff is second-worst in the country, which means you might actually see Michael Zordich kill a man on Saturday.

And the rankings, adjusted for for Penn State's domination of Eastern Michigan and Indiana's egg laying at North Texas. With a decent portion of the season behind us, some of the computer rankings are worthwhile, while some aren't releasing their data (rightfully so, in my opinion) until October 16th, when the first BCS standings will arrive. Until then:

Penn State 33 29 28 N/A 19 42 N/A 22 N/A 20
Indiana N/A N/A 109 N/A 126 112 N/A 121 N/A 107