Penn State vs Indiana Game Preview

Show(s): 

By: Thomas Frank Carr

Reporter             

The Penn State Nittany Lion football team opens Big Ten play this weekend when it travels to Bloomington to take on Indiana. Both the Hoosiers and the Nittany Lions are coming off bye weeks. With the extra time off, Head Coach Bill O’Brien took the opportunity to self evaluate.

                “Your team’s identity is pretty much formed after the first four weeks so you can look at things like heavy tendencies and different areas of the field or down and distances and whatever you may have tendency-wise and try to correct those.”

O’Brien also identified an underrated benefit of the bye week, which gives the team a chance to have some down time after a long time of hard grinding.
                “A lot of our guys were able to go home and see their families and things like that, or if the guys stayed on campus they were able to chill out because they didn’t have any football responsibilities.”

                The Nittany Lions come into the game with a record of 3-1. Their lone loss was to a very good UCF team that took No. 13 ranked South Carolina down to the wire and only lost by three points. Penn State will face another good offense this weekend in the Hoosiers. Indiana leads the Big Ten in yards per game, posting an alarming 547 average. O’Brien said during his weekly press conference that Indiana does a good job of getting their players into space, and that starts with a good quarterback in sophomore Nate Sudfeld,

                “They have a really good quarterback that throws the ball accurately and they have some really good skill players. They have some what I call space players, guys that can make plays with the ball in space and that’s a tough offense to defend.”

                Those skill players include a trio of veteran receivers who all have a shot at reaching the 100 catch milestone in their career this year. They are led by junior Shane Wynn who is sixth in the Big Ten with 68.9 receiving yards per game. Kofi Hughes (99 catches) and Cody Latimore (82) round out a trio that will test the young Penn State defensive backs. Throw in tight end Ted Bolser, a fifth-year senior, who has amassed more than 1,000 yards receiving in his career, and it’s a potent attack.

                “You’re going to have to make sure that you swing to the ball, that you tackle properly, that you get lined up and communicate and you’re able to decipher the formation that they’re coming out in and understand what they’re doing,” O’Brien said.

Some help may come, not from elsewhere on the defense, but from the offense. Penn State will have an incredibly favorable matchup on that side of the ball. As prolific as Indiana has been on offense, they’ve been that bad on defense, giving up 247 yards rushing per game. Penn State ran the ball 53 times versus Kent State to the tune of 287 yards. It’s safe to assume that a similar day might shape up on Saturday.  If the Nittany Lions can play ball control offense and keep the potent Hoosiers attack on the sidelines, it might not matter how fast Indiana can run plays.

                “I don’t think we can come out of this game with a bunch of field goals. Again we’ve got to score points in this game but we have to do it in mixing tempos. We can’t go into this game thinking we’re going to go warp speed every drive,” O’Brien said.

                Another boost for the Penn State defense is the return of linebacker Mike Hull. The senior is expected to play a full game for the first time since opening day against Syracuse. Not only does he provide veteran leadership on defense, but also depth and flexibility. His presence allows fellow linebacker Stephen Obeng-Agyapong to return to his role of nickel linebacker/safety role instead of a down in-down out linebacker. That may be key against a fast paced attack like Indiana.

* The only other injury note to come out of Tuesday’s press conference is that safety Ryan Keiser, who also is the team’s holder, is out for the game. O’Brien said that Keiser may have a chance to return in two weeks for the game against Michigan.

Make sure to tune into ESPN Radio 1450 and 93.7 The Bus for full coverage of Penn State vs Indiana.

Game day Schedule

8 a.m.- Replay of the Penn State Football Show

9 a.m.- Tailgate 2013

Noon- Live play by play of PSU vs IU

 

Scoreboard 2013 following conclusion of the game