WIN, LOSE OR DRAW: Penn State

Part 11 of a 12-part series outlining Indiana football’s opponents this season.

Michigan St Penn St Football

Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark scores against Michigan State last season. Carolyn Kaster | Associated Press

OPPONENT: at Penn State

DATE: Nov. 14

TIME: TBA

TV: TBA

TICKETS: Click here.

FOLLOW THE TEAM: Penn State’s official site.

Coverage from the Centre Daily Times.

HISTORY VS. INDIANA: Indiana is 0-12 alltime against Penn State. The teams met in 2008, with the Nittany Lions winning a 34-7 game in State College. Twice, Penn State has won by “just” three points.

WHO ARE THEY: When Joe Paterno took to the stage during the Big Ten Media Days last month in Chicago, he told the media that he did not really know anything about his team. This, of course, drew laughs. But, in some respects, he is right. A year after leading the Nittany Lions to the Rose Bowl, Paterno must replace a host of talented players (just nine starters return). All three wide receivers from a year ago are gone, as are three offensive linemen (including All-America center A.Q. Shipley). On defense, Paterno lost his entire secondary and defensive end Aaron Maybin, an early entrant into the NFL Draft. Still, most preseason polls have placed Penn State in the top 10, but how much of that is a nod to the school’s history? Penn State has won nine or more games during four straight seasons and could easily make it five — or could slip a bit into the 7-5, 8-4 territory.

OFFENSIVE STAR: With Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood gone, the offensive focus is now on the quarterback, Daryll Clark. Clark stepped into the starting role a year ago and ended up having one of the finest seasons at the position in Penn State’s long history. Guiding the “Spread HD” offense, he threw for 2,592 yards and 19 touchdown passes (against six interceptions), while also rushing for 282 yards and 10 touchdowns. Penn State ranked in the top 20 nationally in rushing, total offense and scoring offense in 2008. To do that again, Clark will have to accelerate the progress of his new wide receivers, who have a combined 29 career receptions, and also put running back Evan Royster in the best position possible to make plays.

DEFENSIVE STAR: Navorro Bowman is a redshirt junior that has drawn to comparisons to LaVar Arrington for the way he makes plays all over the field. After spot duty as a redshirt freshman, Bowman made 106 tackles (61 solo) as the replacement for Dan Connor and an injured Sean Lee. He had four sacks and, at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, is versatile enough to rush the passer and also drop back into coverage. He will be remembered for his fumble recovery last season against Ohio State, allowing Penn State’s offense to score and take the lead in an upset win. This could be his final season on campus, but Bowman (and a now healthy Lee) are the latest stars for what has been affectionately termed, “Linebacker U.”

WHY INDIANA WILL WIN: Bill Lynch should remind himself that if the Hoosiers are somehow in the game with Penn State, he should not rush the ball four times on the goal line. Paterno knows it is coming, he will stop it and, if 2004 indicates anything, Lynch will lose his job shortly thereafter. In all seriousness, Indiana has not been intimidated by Penn State during recent seasons. That’s half of the battle, especially at State College. The Hoosiers must simply execute and keep control of the ball against Penn State, because the Nittany Lions, if they are anything approaching last year’s team, will score in bunches.

WHY PENN STATE WILL WIN: Because they have never not against Indiana. Because Clark is an outstanding dual-threat athlete, and Royster can be sensational out of the backfield. Because, in game No. 11, the wide receivers and new offensive linemen will be more experienced and prepared to play a game that Penn State will need to secure its bowl standing.

NOW YOU: Call it — win, lose or draw? Well, ok, just win or lose. State your reason, as well.

3 comments

  1. I would say the over-under on the points PSU scores in this game is 50. We will not score as many. Predicted record after 11 games: 5-6.

  2. Loss – on the road against one of the front runners for the Big Ten title. This is about as easy a loss (along with OSU) as you can predict for the Hoosiers

    I’m not sure if PSU scores 50 – my guess is they’ll probably get bored somewhere around 28-30 points in and just coast the rest of the way with backups.

  3. The Hoosiers are loose. They have nothing to lose and just open it up. Blowout, of sorts, 28 – 17. I just kill myself sometimes.

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