After spending last game marching up and down the field only to stall in the red zone, I expect to see a far tighter execution and getting back to scoring 30 or more each game. Of course, maybe we’ll see Indiana dust off their #ChaosTeam identity, otherwise enjoy your retro game.
Penn State 44, Indiana 17
Oddly enough, I feel like there isn't enough talk about how dangerous this game could be. Sure, it's in the friendly confines of Beaver Stadium, but after a legitimate battle with Iowa last weekend, there's reason to think the Nittany Lions could be looking at a letdown spot. That being said, I am picking Penn State to win, but I think the Hoosiers keep it close -- similar to last year's contest.
Penn State 38, Indiana 27
After the first few weeks, I thought to myself - both sides of the ball could be better. OL could block better, DL could get more penetration, the offense could do more than just give it to Barkley. And looking at all of the "negative" stats (time of possession, third down conversions, etc.) and comparing them with the "positive" stats (defensive takeaways, the quickness with which the offense was scoring, etc.), I began to rationalize that I was being too hard on the Lions - that I was expecting perfection, when it was still early in the season, and that this team is good enough for the playoff. Not to dismiss Iowa in any way, but I'm firmly back on the Penn State Pessimism™ wagon. I'd rather be pleasantly surprised when I expect a game to be super close and they win big, rather than monstrously disappointed when I'm calling for a rout and they don't blow everyone out.
So, all that being said, Indiana is indeed a team of chaos. I actually like their defense better than their offense, which is weird to say. My hope is that the offense couldn't be nearly as inefficient in finishing drives as they were against Iowa, and that the defense will remember to play on every single down, not just 95% of them. I'll take Penn State to win, but not in any sort of convincing fashion.
Penn State 33, Indiana 24
After the Iowa game last week, I'm a little less confident in the Nittany Lions' offensive line and the ability for the team to prevent tall pass defenders from batting away Trace's throws. We've got Indiana beat on most of the stats, sure, and Penn State has the Barkley-McSorely combo, but the Hoosiers have a strong returning defense and they're not messing around. Penn State will start slow in the first half but the offensive line will gel a little faster this week and Indiana's offense, struggling on the o-line, won't quite be able to match up, keep up and get enough points.
Penn State 31, Indiana 21
Like several of the staff, I'm wondering how Penn State will respond after a hard-fought victory last week. Penn State should have the playmakers on offense, and the line on defense to push the Nittany Lions over the edge. The Hoosiers' quarterback situation will be interesting to watch with Richard Lagow getting banged up last week, but I don't think it matters who throws the ball for Indiana. Their defense will keep it close, but the home team will be just a little too strong, and will improve to 5-0.
Penn State 34, Indiana 24
Had Juwan Johnson not caught that final pass from Trace McSorley in the end zone last Saturday night, I'd be far more worried about this team nursing a serious hangover against a good Indiana team. The way the team finished though, has to give them a jolt of confidence that they can overcome any type of adversity and they ought to be more amped up for this game than they otherwise might have been.
That being said, the Hoosiers' defense will keep this one from getting too far out of hand, and their offense can still be pesky, especially with dual-threat QB Peyton Ramsey and a stud receiver in Simmie Cobbs. I think the secondary (along with the rest of the defense) will be up to the task of keeping up with this fast-paced Hoosier offense. The PSU offense should see a return to its more normal form, at least from a scoring standpoint (i.e. finishing drives in the end zone, rather than settling for field goals like they did last week) as Barkley will continue to show why he is a Heisman Trophy front-runner.
Penn State 38, Indiana 24
Indiana could be a more dangerous offense than Iowa with the way the Hoosiers have been willing to switch from Richard Lagow to more mobile quarterback Peyton Ramsey when the going gets tough. Saturday will also be another big test for a Penn State offense that had trouble finishing drives until the final moment of last week's thriller in Iowa City. It'd be surprising if Saquon Barkley had another game as ridiculous as his last, but his presence should open up enough plays in the passing game to overcome any hiccups that might occur on defense.
Penn State 27, Indiana 17
This game is PSU's penance for love of TV money. Indiana's penance doesn't come due until basketball season. After 25 years as conference siblings, the best either side can muster for a description of Saturday's matchup is a sarcastic meme, because in truth, neither side cares.
But at least we have that. Wooo! It's #PUNTWEEK. Indiana's going DOWN! //Yells across vacant lot at no one
PSU 38, Bizarro PSU 20
In my opinion, calling Indiana the #ChaosTeam at this venture is a bit unfair to them. The moniker emerged from the days where Indiana would have a home loss to Bowling Green, only to follow it up with going on the road to beat then-SEC East champion Missouri. Indiana has since improved enough that they’re at the level where you know they’ll beat the teams they’re expected to beat, and lose to the ones they should lose to (even if, in the process, they give those teams one hell of a game).
That’s where Penn State comes in. The Nittany Lions, by any definition of the term, is the better team. They should win, and it shouldn’t be in doubt at any point. But, coming off a hard fought win against Iowa just a week ago, it makes sense that a large portion of the population now thinks Penn State might not be as good as we thought they were, while propping Indiana up a bit more than they should be.
And that, folks, is why Vegas makes as much money as they do.
Penn State 56, Indiana 17
Every week last year after the Ohio State win, folks were asking if the next game would be the letdown game for the Big Ten champs. A letdown never came, so the narrative changed. After the big win in Kinnick last week, where Penn State stared down the “Top-5 Boogey Man” and won, there will be no letdown when the Lions return home. They play a dangerous Indiana team, but if they want to be seen as a legit contender with a Heisman Trophy candidate — and make no mistake, they do on both counts — they'll come out of Beaver with a big win.
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Shareef Miller. In channeling fellow lineman Torrence Brown while wearing the injured teammate's number last week, Miller had his best performance in a Nittany Lions jersey to date. Can he keep it up, or will it be a one-time thing? The Indiana passing offense is legit, and will be a good test.
DON’T BE SURPRISED IF … the Lions' streak of giving up no scores in the first quarter is broken. Richard Lagow has a ton of talent around him, and it should be close to start the game - but Penn State should pull away in the second half, much like Ohio State did in Bloomington to start the season.
PREDICTION: Indiana is the chaos team for a reason - the Hoosiers play everybody tough. But after a hard fought win on the road in the scary nighttime venue that is Kinnick Stadium, the Lions have more confidence - and are back at home, where they're riding the longest winning streak in one location in the nation (with only one game lost in the last three seasons). PSU rolls.
Penn State 52, Indiana 20
With all the highs of Penn State’s magical late-season run to a Big Ten Championship, it’s easy to forgot just how close Indiana came to handing Penn State a defeat that would have prevented all this from happening. Sure, this was last year, but Indiana returns many key players and has a penchant for playing up to the level of any highly-ranked teams on its schedule.
I do think Indiana will have some success by dinking-and-dunking down the field for a couple of scores. While Penn State’s defense should control the line of scrimmage, Indiana has the playmakers to move the ball. Indiana will find enough productivity to keep things interesting, but at some point in the second half, the Nittany Lions defense will tighten up, and cause a couple turnovers that the offense then capitalizes on to pull ahead for good.
Trace McSorley puts up 310 yards through the air and three touchdowns, and adds another with his legs. Mike Gesicki gets back on track with 80 yards receiving and a score, and Saquon does Saquon things, with 250 yards from scrimmage. On defense, Shareef Miller keeps up his frenetic pace with 2.5 sacks, while Ryan Buchholz forces a fumble and Lamont Wade picks off a pass and nearly takes it all the way back for six.
Penn State 38, Indiana 20