4 stories to follow previewing the Indiana Hoosiers at the Penn State Nittany Lions
Following a deflating loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Penn State Nittany Lions (6-1, 3-1) will look to get back into the win column and move to 7-1 against the Indiana Hoosiers at noon in Beaver Stadium. Indiana enters the game 2-5 and 0-4 in the Big 10 with losses to Rutgers, Michigan, Ohio State, and Maryland. What do Penn State fans need to watch for in this matchup?
1. Will the Penn State offense find explosive passes?
The big issue for the Penn State Nittany Lions against the Ohio State Buckeyes was their passing attack. They were supposed to have the better quarterback in this matchup for the first time under James Franklin. However, Drew Allar went 18-42 for 191 yards, just 4.5 yards per attempt. He is 4-15 when throwing the ball 20 yards downfield this season, and Allar was 0-4 throwing the deep ball against Ohio State. That was not going to win them anything.
This has been an issue all year, and the hope was that it would be resolved before the Buckeyes game. Now, the Nittany Lions have a loss. They have two more games until Michigan and they have to find more explosive passes if they want to hang in that game.
2. Can the Penn State defense maintain this dominance against Indiana
It is hard to blame the Penn State defense for anything they did on Saturday. They kept the run game in check and held the Buckeyes to 20 points, their second-lowest output, only more than the 17 points the Buckeyes scored against Notre Dame. Yes, Marvin Harrison Jr. had a big day, but Penn State gave the offense plenty of chances to win this game. At some point, you will have to wonder if the defense will get frustrated. They are the dominant unit, and the offense cost them again. Will they show up for another Herculean effort, or will they start to crack knowing that the offense cannot hold its weight?
3. Will the Penn State Nittany Lions look passed the Indiana Hoosiers?
Penn State enters this game as a massive favorite. Indiana is 0-12 in Happy Valley and Penn State is 24-2 against Indiana all-time. It would be a shocker if Indiana won. The only thing that could hurt Penn State this week is the emotional letdown. Penn State is coming off of a game where they put everything into winning. They faced their demons at Ohio State and lost. How motivated will they be to play a 2-5 team after this? Even more than that, they see 5-2 Maryland on the road next week, and that is the prep for the showdown against Michigan at home.
Penn State has to avoid going through the motions because this is a tough spot where they can get caught looking ahead, as well as behind.
4. What are the injury updates for the Penn State Nittany Lions?
For the most part, the Nittany Lions walked away from the loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes clean. The team lost defensive lineman Chop Robinson in the game, so his status will have to be monitored. Since this is the least threatening of their next three weeks, this may be a chance to sit him and ensure he is healthy. Penn State appears to have done that with JB Nelson last week. The Nittany Lions starting left guard was active after leaving the Northwestern game early with an injury and sitting out the UMass game. Nelson appears to be close and could have played in an emergency situation, but James Franklin took extra caution. The thought is that Nelson will be healthy and back in the lineup on Saturday.