4 keys for Indiana’s game vs. Penn State

1. Keep Penn State’s defense honest: Hamstrung by the youth and ineffectiveness of freshman quarterback Zander Diamont, Indiana coaches haven’t felt comfortable letting him take many shots downfield. It would seem that, until they do, even the Superman abilities of Tevin Coleman won’t be enough to carry this Hoosier offense. Diamont has thrown for only 35 yards combined over his first two starts. He was erratic in his debut against Michigan State and received only eight opportunities to throw the ball in his second start last week against Michigan. But there has to be another solution than merely handing and dumping off to Coleman. In order to have a chance, there might not be many choices other than looking long and throwing deep this week.

2. Defense and Special Teams need to help: While the offense attempts to find ways to make an unfortunate situation work, Indiana could use some help in other areas. A pick-six or a special teams touchdown would go a long way toward putting IU in a position to be competitive. Through eight games, each of Indiana’s 29 touchdowns have come on offense, including 23 on the ground. The Hoosiers haven’t thrown for a score since the start of the second quarter at Iowa — a span of nearly 11 quarters. But Indiana has struggled to force turnovers to this point, and is coming off a game in which it had three clear opportunities for interceptions, but came down with only one. Indiana’s offense needs the help, and this would be quite the time to come through.

3. Generate pressure against Penn State’s offensive line: Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg has received little help from his teammates up front so far, leading to plenty of headaches and frustration in State College. Penn State has yielded a Big Ten-worst 30 sacks in eight games, showing that there are holes to exploit if the Hoosiers are willing. The problem is that Indiana had a similar opportunity against Michigan, but couldn’t do enough to worry quarterback Devin Gardner. For Indiana coach Kevin Wilson, Indiana’s inability to generate a push with four down linemen was a big disappointment. Hackenberg has shown that he’s able to hurt a defense when he has time to throw. Indiana can’t afford to give it to him.

4. Don’t stop believing: This year’s Indiana football team seemed quite close to breaking through. While bowl hopes continue to diminish, there remains a month’s worth of football season to salvage. Despite the recent struggles, this remains a winnable game against a Penn State squad that rides a four-game losing streak into Bloomington. Of course, the Nittany Lions have plenty of their own issues. The Hoosiers are saying the right things and they still seem to have a degree of fight left in them as their fortunes turn. So don’t count out Indiana this afternoon. A win revives the season, at least for one week, with a date at beatable Rutgers looming next weekend.

6 comments

  1. The last two games offensive game planning/paly calling has been horrible. ZD has not played well at all – but the ultra conservative play calling has also hindered him. Not one pass play has been further than 4 yards down the field. I would rather lose aggressively attempting to score and win – than to play passively and lose by 3-4 TD’s anyway.

    The first time we run a play action fake to TC and have any WR run a stop and go fly pattern – I guarantee they will be 20 yards in the clear for a TD. The ball has to go downfield. Even if ZD lacks the ability to perform at this level ( at least at this point in time ) – HCKW owes the team the opportunity to try and actually win the game and put points on the board. The kid has really showed nothing at all ( 35 yards in 2 games – wtf ) – but he is a Division I athlete – not a 7 year old little girl.

    Michigan was a horrible team – easily the worst they probably ever have had in their history. This PSU is equal in there lack of talent. With a decent game plan and some aggressiveness – even this QB lacking IU team should have a chance to win today.

    I smell a rare defensive score today for IU. Or it might be burnt breakfast and wishful thinking.

  2. Vegas has not figured out that we do not have a QB yet. I made a ton of $$ on Michigan last week. I will bet “the house” on Penn State at -6 this week. Sorry Hoosiers…

  3. Jon’s comments remind me of a little boy, pouting in the corner on his birthday because he did not get the toy he requested. Either that, or he’s just another troll.

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