Quick 2021 Recap
Few teams in the Big Ten had a more disappointing season in 2021 than Indiana. The Hoosiers began the season ranked for the first time in a long time, checking in at no. 17 in the preseason AP Poll, and hopes were high for Tom Allen’s team. Well, it did not take long for things to go wrong as the Hoosiers blowout 34-6 by Iowa to begin the season. This was the beginning of a 2-10 campaign that saw Indiana go 0-9 in conference play. This included a 24-0 loss at Beaver Stadium.
Offensive Player to Watch: QB Connor Bazelak
With long-time Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. moving on the Hoosiers added Missouri transfer Connor Bazelak. To the credit of Allen and his staff Bazelak is a strong addition. In 24 games played in his Missouri career Bazelak completed 66.3% of passes thrown for 5,058 yards, 23 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Adding Bazelak should give the Hoosiers a top half quarterback in the Big Ten this fall.
Defensive Player to Watch: DB Tiawan Mullen
A big reason for the defensive struggles of Indiana last season was injury limiting Tiawan Mullen to just 7 games. During the 2020 season he was named the team’s most outstanding defensive player, while also being named first-team All-Big Ten and a first-team All-American by multiple outlets. In his career Mullen has 88 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 8 tackles for a loss, 3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and 20 pass breakups. Mullen is one of the best defensive backs in the country when healthy, and should be an early pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Indiana Wins If
When Indiana upset Penn State in Bloomington to kick off the 2020 season it took one mistake after another by the Nittany Lions. Missed field goals, penalties, turnovers, failing to capitalize on scoring opportunities. If Indiana is going to pull another upset this season it will take a similar effort. The Hoosier will also need to take care of the ball and avoid penalties themselves.
Penn State Wins If
There is not denying that Penn State is the more talented team of the two. As long as the Nittany Lions take care of the football and do not shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly as they did they last time they traveled to Bloomington, then they should leave Memorial Stadium with a victory. This is a matchup in which Penn State should be able to assert their will.