Last year, Penn State faced Indiana in the second week of November. The Lions needed to defeat the Hoosiers to have a shot at the Big Ten Championship. Indiana put up a shockingly good fight, and there were a few tense moments, but the Lions ultimately came away victorious with a 45-31 win.
This year, the Lions’ offense is more in sync with each other, and the defense has already put on quite a show in these first four games.
Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead issued some statements this week regarding the team. A no-nonsense guy, Moorhead said the team has been working on perfecting the little things as well as the major ones.
"I think, you know, the old saying that no one rises to low expectations - every time that we take the field our expectation level when a possession begins, it's going to end with a touchdown," said Moorhead.
Indiana’s first game of the season was against now No. 9 Ohio State. To everyone’s surprise, Indiana held Ohio State to a close score until the third quarter of the game, when the Buckeyes stepped it up and won 49-21.
However, Indiana’s fight and scrappy playing showed that they are not a team for Penn State to take lightly. The Hoosiers boasted double-digit victories against both UVA and Georgia State. The Hoosiers’ game against Florida International University was cancelled due to the hurricane.
Head Coach James Franklin commented in his weekly press conference that he believes that one of the things that makes this team special is its ability to adapt to a variety of different playing styles.
“I think we've reacted to people's plans pretty well over the last year and a half. We've been pretty successful,” said Franklin. “Sometimes it's taken till the second half to do it, but we've been pretty good and everybody has a theory or philosophy on how they are going to stop us.”
Of course, fans can be on the lookout for usual standouts like Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.), Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.), and Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J.) this weekend.
Accepting his newfound fame is Juwan Johnson (Glassboro, N.J.), who caught McSorley’s pass and scored the winning touchdown for Penn State last weekend against Iowa.
Johnson is keeping his head about him, though.
“That's pretty much the biggest thing in terms of something like this. You have to put things into perspective,” said Johnson. “I know things happened and I had a good game, but I also know I left a lot of plays out there. I could have done better, but we came out with the win. That's the main thing here.”
Johnson said it all - the Lions came out to win, the main goal in every game. Will you be out in Happy Valley cheering this weekend, Penn State fans? Let’s fill Beaver Stadium to the max on Saturday!