Football Preview: Indiana
Brian McLaughlin, Jack Raynor, Alissa Devine and Travis Sutton break down every matchup in this weeken's Big Ten contest between Penn State and Indiana.
The No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions (7-2, 5-1 Big Ten) look to maintain their seemingly unstoppable campaign against the Indiana Hoosiers (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten) this Saturday on the road. Penn State climbed in the rankings with an electric 41-14 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten) last weekend during primetime college football.
With Christian Hackenberg at the helm, the Nittany Lions pummeled the Hoosiers last fall with an explosive 29-7 final home victory on the season. Will a man-up defense and a revamped offense be able to control both sides of the ball against the Hoosiers on the road?
Although Penn State holds an overwhelming 18-1 record on Indiana, Penn State and Indiana both have a lot to lose from their impending matchup. The Blue and White hope to continue climbing the ranks to create opportunities for large-scale Bowl action, while Indiana is hoping to gain momentum from their two-game winning streak and sneak into Bowl contention.
In light of history and momentum, the Nittany Lions’ wave of success should easily wash over the Hoosiers with Saquon Barkley leading the charge.
Although Garret Sickels leads Penn State’s defense and Trace McSorley stands at the helm of their offense, Barkley stands at the forefront of James Franklin’s game plan. Barkley currently leads the Big Ten in rushing and all-purpose yards, while he also stands at second for total touchdowns. Last week against Iowa, the stud running back found the end zone on two different occasions; the first on a 57-yard touchdown run, while the second was a 44-yard connection with McSorley. His explosiveness and diversity put him up for Heisman consideration amongst the likes of Jabrill Peppers and J.T. Barrett. With Heisman hopes in the distance and a continuous grind of resilience and another first down, Indiana’s upset attempt will fall in the way of stopping a dynamic Barkley.
Even if Indiana’s defense, who held Rutgers to only 93 rushing yards, infiltrates Moorhead’s offensive scheme, the Nittany Lions still have dual-threat weapons in their running backs and quarterbacks. Highly recruited Miles Sanders has been a nice compliment to Barkley’s star-studded season.
While McSorley stands at the helm of the offensive attack with no interceptions in his last five games, Tommy Stevens integrated his abilities into the scheme last week against Iowa when he rushed for 70-yards and cemented his first career rushing touchdown. Once Penn State found their footing in October, the offensive diversity within their running backs, quarterbacks and other threats, like receiver Chris Godwin and tight end Mike Gesicki, unpredictably flourished.
As mentioned previously, the Nittany Lions should continue their winning ways unless the Hoosiers can pick apart Moorhead’s offense, diminish quarterback Richard Lagow’s turnover struggle, and utilize their electric special teams attack that finds ample success in blocking punts and kicks.
The Penn State Nittany Lions are kicking off another conference game against the Indiana Hoosiers at noon on Saturday in Memorial Stadium.
Madeleine Balestrier is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.