#18 Penn State vs. Indiana
After close home losses to Ohio State and Michigan State, both of which involved defensive breakdowns and poor play calling late in the final quarter, one has to wonder about the team psyche as the Nittany Lions travel to Indiana. #18 Penn State (4-2, 1-2) faces traditional Big Ten bottom feeder Indiana (4-3, 1-3) in what could be a trap game before the Lions take on Murderer’s Row: Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin, in consecutive weeks.
Take Care of Business, Boys!
Bad attitudes and sloppiness could conspire to do the unthinkable. A loss to Indiana would sink the season for Penn State. Looking past this game, they can anticipate at least two more losses (to Iowa and Michigan). Only the Rutgers game is anything close to a guaranteed victory for State, if there is such a thing.
So, PSU must absolutely handle the Indiana Hoosiers! I exaggerated a bit when I called them bottom-feeders. I would place Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Rutgers at the very bottom of the Big Ten. Indiana has a chance to become bowl eligible. They only need two wins to get there, with remaining games being PSU, Minnesota, Maryland, Michigan, and Purdue. They have every incentive to want to win this game on their home turf.
So, What’s the Deal with Indiana?
The Hoosiers rank 9th in rushing in the Big Ten, averaging 4.1 ypc. So, you could say they’re a passing team, ranking #4 in that category, behind tOSU, Purdue, and Northwestern. Passing is the bailiwick of sophomore QB Peyton Ramsey, whose completion rate is a sparkling 68% (10th nationally), but his passing has been good for only 6.42 yards per attempt, with 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. But with that kind of passing, you would expect that they do relatively well with third down conversions, which they do, 42.7%. (Penn State sucks worse — 37.5%).
On defense, Indiana is slightly suckier than PSU against the run, ranking 67th nationally. Against the pass, they’re 71st in passing yards allowed.
They get penalized a lot and they can cough up the ball. So given these two teams’ history in that area, this could be another sloppy game.
In the last game against Iowa, the Hawkeyes never trailed, eventually blowing out the Hoosiers in Bloomington, 42-16.
In that game, Indiana had only 67 yards rushing. Total yards were 479 to 330 in favor of the visitors. Both teams were heavily penalized. Indiana had 10 for 99 yards. They also were intercepted twice.
Fall has fung (rhymes with spring has sprung), and the high will be 59 on a mostly sunny day.
Da Bottom Line
Here we go with the always Wong, never white Official Turkey Poop Prognostication. I’ll make this one short and sweet, although it might constitute wishful thinking. We gotta win this one, boys and girls. If you aren’t too tired from watching the Michigan – Moo U. game, watch this one. It won’t be too exciting, but we might just win for a change.
Current odds favor Penn State by 14.5 with an over/under of 61. Remember that PSU was favored over Moo U. by two touchdowns and you know what happened there. But Indiana is not Moo U. Interpreting the line gives up a formulaic approximation of a 38-23 outcome. Unless the team psyche is really in the dumpster, I think Indiana will shoot itself in the foot. Penn State won’t be elite or great, but they’ll sloppily win this super bowl, 42-24, and you should take the over.
I’ll be back after the game with some celebratory comments.