Indiana (2-2) vs. #4 (???) Penn State (4-0)
I stole the title from Jackstand, also known as Mike, who is hosting our watch party stripe-out event here. Mike works on cars most of the time since he retired from active duty in the tech sector. He worked for the big names: Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, Google, etc., but now he has an arc welder in his living room.
Over-ranked Penn State (4-0) hosts Indiana in a Stripe-Out game at Beaver Stadium on Saturday night in prime time. At season’s outset, this looked like a premier matchup, but the bloom is off that rose now. What we’re hanging our hat on is the revenge aspect, after last year’s multi-overtime debacle with the multi-replayed call at the end, won by the Hoosiers, setting up a crappy losing streak for the Nittany Lions. This must be avenged!
Despite Penn State’s inflated ranking, they should win this one. Indiana has lost its big star receiver for the season, and their running game is almost as crappy as PSU’s. In their initial 34-6 drubbing by Iowa, they managed only 233 yards of total offense, of which 156 were passing. To compound their problems, quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. was intercepted three times.
Penn State’s opportunistic pass defense can capitalize on Penix’s misfortunes to keep the passing threat at bay. However, will Penn State — ever — get its running game on track? Indiana ranks 57th in total defense and is 36th against the run. Penn State ranks 111th in rushing offense, so you do the math.
I don’t expect that #4 ranking to hold beyond the middle of the month. A team that ranks 92nd in third down conversions is #4? Gimme a break!
Not much to talk about here. So, let’s move on.
We’re looking at a mostly sunny day with high of 74 and low of 53 — good football weather under the lights of Beaver Stadium.
Da Bottom Line
I know. I haven’t said much of anything here. But really, all our guys have to do is watch the ball and take care of business as usual, albeit with the frustrating lack of a ground game, and they should win. Whether they cover the spread or not is the big question mark in my mind. Indiana laid down for Iowa, but they played competitively against Cincinnati before losing that one. So, they are not pushovers by any means.
Meanwhile, Penn State’s “signature” wins against Wisconsin and Auburn do not look so significant anymore, given those two teams’ struggles. Hell, Mertz specializes in giving the ball to the other side, which is the only way Penn State won that one. Predicting this one is going to be once again, as always, straight out of my ass. Nothing to guide me except some studied mediocrity on both benches.
So, the hypercynical Official Turkey Poop Prediction is almost not worth the screen space, but I’ll give it to you anyway. Current spread is PSU -12½ with an over/under of 53½. That works out to a Penn State win by a score something like 33-20. The Hoosier defense is suspect, so that score would make sense to me if they hadn’t lost their big star receiver. Ten demerits for that. Nittany Lions 33, Indigenouspeopleiana 10.
(I’ll be back after the game with some sparkling commentary. I should note that we’ll be holding a wake for the Steelers after their denouement at the behest of the Packers. The Steelers’ offensive line suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.).
K. John says
The Hoosiers are hard to predict. They got thoroughly beat by Iowa in the opener. Pounded Idaho a week later. But, very much outplayed Cincinnati who is the most comparable team I have seen to Penn State, both offensively and defensively so this prediction gives me pause. At the end of the day, the fact that we can’t get pressure due to talent misfit on the defensive line means Penix will likely have a big day running or passing. Maybe both depending on how we play them. Offensively, Indiana has issues with size and talent up front. We probably can’t run the ball which means we’ll likely be biting our nails in the fourth quarter.
Penn State 28
The Nittany Turkey says
Thinking about this a lot. Penix can beat us with his legs, too. These guys don’t do well with dual threat QBs. However, Penix loves the long play and that could do him in. I’ll stick with my out-of-the-ass prediction, but I truly do not know what to expect!
Michael H. Geldner says
I’m optimistic that PSU will come out on top with a score of 36 to 21. It would be gratifying to see that Noah Cain is getting stronger with each passing week. The PSU defense is amazing this year! The Lion’s running game WILL improve! Expect a “W!”
The Nittany Turkey says
You’re the perennial Sanginarian when it comes to playing anyone but tOSU. That is good, but you’re setting yourself up for disappointment with this bunch, I fear. I’ll say one thing of which I’m pretty sure, honestly, perhaps — the #4 ranking will not survive this week. The Nits will play their usual crappy game against Nativeamericaniana and after last night, Iowa will leapfrog (even though Tua, Jr. shot himself in the foot to hand the Hawkeyes the win). One thing you have going for you (aside from the arc welder in the living room) is that the Hoosiers have a shitty record for games played in The Beave.
Big Al says
The last three games with Indiana have been one score games and IU has covered the spread all three times. Conversely, IU except for 2018, IU has always played like crap at the Beav and has never won there. If Penn State gets off to a good start, Indiana will probably pack in and State will cover the spread fairly easily. But, State didn’t start that quickly against the two decent teams they’ve played this season. So I expect yet another 4th quarter nail biter. Penn State 28 Indiana 20.
PS Iowa may be better and more athletic than the Sanguinarians think. And Indiana’s loss to them may not indicate that the Hoosiers suck.
The Nittany Turkey says
Iowa looked pretty damn good last night (what little I saw of that game). Looking at the box score this morning, either Tagovoiloa completely suuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks or as Keith Jackson used to say with an Oklahoma twang, “That Hawkeye defense got after him real good.” Five interceptions? He gets the Gary (Turn) Nova/Graham Mertz Memorial Award for a sparkling performance — for the opponent. Iowa had no sacks and no QB hurries, so credit goes to either the Iowa secondary or Tua Jr. But clearly, Locksley must be like his old buddy JF — chunk play man — as the IITOP was 39-21 in favor of the Pigeyes. That, my friend, does not portend well for the big showdown next Saturday.
And I think that in the polls tomorrow, we’ll see Iowa leapfrog PSU after their 51 point performance and after our (projected) semi-sloppy win.