Players to Watch: Indiana

Story posted October 7, 2015 in Sports, CommRadio by George Stockburger

Coming off their first loss of the 2015 season, the Indiana Hoosiers will be looking to mount a comeback against the Penn State on Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Led by senior quarterback Nate Sudfeld, the Hoosiers will be looking to even their conference record and prove that their first four games of the season weren’t a fluke. Despite all of Penn State’s woes this season, they enter the game as an eight point favorite. Don’t tell James Franklin that.

Here are some of the Indiana players Penn State will be game planning for this week.

Nate Sudfeld, QB
After relying on running back Tevin Coleman (who’s now in the NFL) for much of his career, fourth-year starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld has made some improvement in parts of his game. Coming off a major shoulder injury that ended his junior season, Sudfeld shows tremendous arm strength and the ability to get the ball down field. The only problem with that is his incredible lack of accuracy. That may be due to his violently busy throwing motion. Penn State’s corners and safeties should have a field day going up for some of Sudfeld’s long balls. Short range ball placement is also an issue with Sudfeld. He needs to work on throwing the ball to the correct side of the receiver and out of the hands of luring defenders.

Against a tough Ohio State team last week, Sudfeld showed those deficiencies throughout the game. He only managed to complete ten of his passes for less than 140 yards.

Looking towards the draft this spring, Sudfeld sits at the low end of the quarterback scale. I currently have him ranked 10th amongst quarterbacks due to that lack of accuracy. He might be taken in a later round as a project for a team settled at the position, but currently posses little to no NFL prospects.

Jordan Howard and Devine Redding, RB
The tremendous play of the Penn State defensive line will need to continue to  bottle up the Indiana running back corps. Jordan Howard and Devine Redding are the two backs James Franklin’s crew will be working on stopping this week.

Howard is the Hoosiers leading rusher with more than 700 rushing yards through five games. He suffered what is being called a minor ankle injury last week against Ohio State, so his status is yet to be determined. With a physical rushing style, Howard will chip away at defenses with short yardage runs. He hasn’t had a rush of more than 35 yards this season, but still maintains the status of an NCAA top-ten rushing yards leader.

Despite the slightly limited carries for Devine Redding, the sophomore from Ohio is making the most of it. He leads the team in rushing touchdowns (five) and is second on the team in rushing yards with 282. With excellent vision and some power, look for Redding to be used in goal line situations for Indiana. The play of Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson for Penn State will be critical for stopping Redding up front.

Nick Mangieri, DE
Christian Hackenberg is already familiar with the damage junior Nick Mangieri can cause. When the two were freshman, the 6-5 defensive end got up in Hackenberg’s face last year and knocked the ball out of his hand. The result was a fumble in the endzone and a recovery by Indiana. As a pass-rusher, Mangieri has broken out this year with five sacks in the first five games. We all know about the ups and downs suffered by the Penn State offensive line this year. If Hackenberg or the running backs are to have a good game Saturday, the Penn State tackles will need to be able to handle Mangieri’s bull rush attempts off the edge.

George Stockburger is junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email gos5187@psu.edu