A lot has been made about the last two years and Penn State’s response to losses. While losing is unpleasant, the coaches and team can’t get too in the weeds trying to figure out what happened last week, because the fact of the matter is better execution on just one or two plays was the margin between victory and defeat. Yes, the defense was largely disappointing and three turnovers makes it an uphill affair, but there was still a chance to win the game at the end. Everything this team wants is still achievable with focus, so the biggest threat this week is getting caught looking ahead to Columbus and letting Indiana capitalize on all the things Minnesota seized upon.
Penn State 45, Indiana 17
Each of the past two seasons the Nittany Lions suffered a gut punch loss just as they did this past Saturday against Minnesota. In each of those two seasons they followed it up with another gut punch loss. In both years the first loss came against Ohio State, effectively ending their College Football Playoff hopes, with the second coming against Michigan State.
Can the Nittany Lions avoid consecutive gut punch losses this season? The answer is yes. Unlike the past two seasons after they lost to Ohio State, the Nittany Lions still have everything in front of them. If they win out, they will head to Indianapolis to play for the Big Ten Championship and a trip to the College Football Playoff.
At 7-2, Indiana is having one of their best seasons in a long, long time. The Hoosiers will play motivated football and will not go away easily on Saturday afternoon. Tom Allen is a great motivator and he will have his group ready to go and the Nittany Lions better be ready to match their intensity.
There could be a bit of a hangover to start this game, but I do not think it will last long. Penn State still has everything in the world to play for and, led by a bounce back outing from Sean Clifford, they get back on track against Indiana this weekend to improve to 9-1, setting up a showdown with the Buckeyes next Saturday in Columbus
Penn State 35, Indiana 17
This was a potential “trap game” for many even prior to the Hoosiers’ 7-2 start to the season. However, the fact that the Nittany Lions are playing at home, and will face 9th year senior Peyton Ramsey rather than Michael Penix certainly pushes the odds in the Blue and White’s favor.
Sean Clifford plays a much better four quarters than his last few starts, and the running game dominates to stave off the Hoosiers.
Penn State 38, Indiana 17
WHAT DO WE SAY TO THE GOD OF DEATH?! “NOT TODAY!” For my own sanity, I believe this team is different. For one, Penn State responded well in the Minnesota game it was just too little too late. Additionally, all the Nittany Lions goals are right there in from of them. Peyton Ramsey is fine enough, but he’s no Michael Penix. Gimme the home team by a pair of scores.
Penn State 34, Indiana 20
You’ve all heard it enough this week: serenity now.
Seriously though, the Lions almost needed a wake up call, and Minnesota gave them just that. I think the team comes out fired up, and puts together a solid performance against Indiana. I also think Antonio Shelton is going to be PISSED and takes it out on some poor interior linemen.
Penn State 35, Indiana 17
I have a terrible, terrible, feeling about this one, because I’ve seen this movie the last couple of years: PSU loses their first game of the season in a heartbreaker, then their hung over selves proceed to play like dogshit against a very beatable opponent the following week and drop that game, too.
Indiana has had the week off to get ready and add a few new wrinkles to the playbook, they’re able to play the DISRESPEKT card after getting left out of the CFP rankings, and the blueprint is out on how to beat a PSU secondary that couldn’t cover Mr. Miyagi if he was trying to catch a pass with chopsticks.
While I like PSU to put up their share of points against a shaky Hoosier D, I think Peyton Ramsey and the Indiana passing attack continually exploit the PSU secondary enough to pull off the historic upset in Beaver Stadium. Thank goodness I’ll be busy running my marathon this weekend and won’t be able to watch much of this impending shitshow.
Indiana 38, Penn State 34
This week Penn State will test its resolve. The past two seasons, a team good enough to make the playoff let themselves get dejected enough to turn one loss into two. This time around, the loss is not the Big Ten Title Game-preventing backbreaker against Ohio State. Let’s see how they respond.
Penn State 56, Indiana 17
(originally appearing in the Game Preview)
If you look closely, there are several similarities between Indiana and Minnesota that should cause concern. Both teams come in much better than could have been predicted prior to the season. Both have efficient, accurate quarterbacks, a star receiver and a running back that’s been churning out 100-yard games. Both have defenses that may lack the overall star power, but have been able to lock down opposing offenses when they needed to to secure a win.
The reason the loss to the Gophers was so heart-wrenching is that you could point to a few dozen individual mistakes, missed opportunities or blown calls that would have made the difference between remaining undefeated or dropping the game. Something tells me the team comes out focused, with a greater sense of urgency and refusing to let any opportunities slip away this time.
Sean Clifford bounces back with 280 yards and four total touchdowns, tossing two to Pat Freiermuth. KJ Hamler does KJ Hamler things with 110 yards receiving on the day, while adding a long momentum-shifting kickoff return that leads to a score. Journey Brown has another big day, rumbling for 120 yards and a touchdown to take advantage of the extended carries for the second week in a row.
Indiana picks up a few things on film from Minnesota to keep the defense on its toes, but the Nittany Lions make adjustmentments to shut down the Hoosiers when it matters most. Micah Parsons finishes with 13 tackles and a sack, Garrett Taylor halts a drive with a key interception, and Shaka Toney gets in Ramsey’s face with a couple sacks for old times sake.
Penn State 38, Indiana 24