FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (52,929) — Bloomington, Indiana.
Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: PSU 2-3, IU 2-2. Away Record: PSU
1-1, IU 1-3. Neutral Record: PSU 1-0, IU 0-0. Conference Record: PSU 1-4, IU
0-4. Series Record: Penn State leads, 16-1.
GAME NOTES: The Penn State Nittany Lions will try to continue their dominance
of the Indiana Hoosiers when the two teams meet up for a Big Ten Conference
clash on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
Penn State has won 16 of the 17 meetings all-time between the two teams.
There is plenty at stake this time around, with Penn State needing to win two
of its final four games to become bowl eligible. The Nittany Lions began the
season 4-0, but have since lost four straight. One week after falling to 13th-
ranked Ohio State in double-overtime, they lost at home to Maryland last
Saturday on a late field goal.
Meanwhile, Indiana is looking to snap a three-game slide and notch its first
Big Ten victory of the season. The Hoosiers are coming off last Saturday’s
34-10 rout at the hands of a Michigan squad that had lost four of its previous
five. They will need to win three of their final four games to qualify for a
Penn State sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg leads the Big Ten in
passing yards (2,038), passing yards per game (254.8 ypg) and completions per
game (22.9). However, those statistics do not tell the whole story when it
comes to Hackenberg’s play of late. Last week, he completed only 18-of-42
passes for 177 yards and a touchdown, to go along with an interception, three
fumbles (two lost) and five sacks. The Nittany Lions led 16-7 late in the
third quarter following their only touchdown, but were unable to make that
lead stick. Sam Ficken kicked four field goals on the day. Expect Hackenberg
to try and get the ball in the hands of wideout DaeSean Hamilton, who ranks
eighth nationally with 7.8 receptions per game and is second in the Big Ten
with 91.0 receiving yards per contest.
Whereas the Penn State offense has been woefully inconsistent from week to
week, the defense continues to get the job done. In fact, the Nittany Lions
lead the nation in rushing defense (77.1 ypg) after bottling up Maryland to
the tune of 33 rushing yards last Saturday. They are also third nationally in
total defense (273.4 ypg) and ninth in scoring defense (17.8 ppg). Linebacker
Mike Hull headlines the unit, as he leads the conference and ranks seventh
nationally with 11.5 tackles per game. Hull has five games with 10 or more
stops to his credit this season. Freshman safety Marcus Allen has provided a
spark by racking up 22 tackles since he was inserted into the starting lineup
two games ago. He also has three pass breakups and a sack in that span.
Indiana freshman Zander Diamont has taken over the starting quarterback gig
with Nate Sudfeld and backup Chris Covington both lost for the season due to
injury. Of course, with Tevin Coleman averaging more rushing yards per game
(162.5) than nearly half of the teams in the country (61 of 125 FBS teams),
Diamont will not be asked to air it out very much. He attempted only eight
passes against Michigan, while Coleman carried 27 times for 108 yards.
Coleman is the leading rusher in the nation with 162.5 yards per game. He is
averaging a ridiculous 8.02 ypc and has rushed for 11 scores. The junior has
recorded a national-best 10 straight 100-yard games and is on pace to rush for
1,950 yards, which would break Vaughn Dunbar’s school record of 1,805 set back
in 1991. No other back in the country has rushed for 100 yards in every game
Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, their leaky defense has often taken Coleman
out of the equation, as was the case again last week when Michigan kept the
chains moving with 20 first downs and went on to win by 24. IU entered this
week ranked 105th in scoring defense (34.8 ppg), 110th in passing yards
allowed (275.4 ypg) and 125th in red-zone defense.
The focal point of this matchup is obviously the country’s leading rusher
going up against the top run defense. But the real key will be Hackenberg, and
whether he can get things going in the right direction against a vulnerable IU
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Penn State 28, Indiana 17