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.).