4 storylines for IU’s game vs. Penn State

1. How do both teams respond?
Indiana and Penn State each have reasons to play angry. The Hoosiers played poorly on both sides of the ball last week against Iowa, squandering an opportunity to claim a crucial win. The Nittany Lions enter Bloomington on the heels of back-to-back home losses that have knocked them off course from the College Football Playoff. It’s fair to wonder where both teams are mentally. Could a crestfallen Penn State program provide a chance for a close game? Winning at Memorial Stadium hasn’t been easy for Nittany Lions coach James Franklin. Penn State eked out a 13-7 win in 2014 and it took a fourth-quarter rally for the Lions to survive their 2016 visit.

2. Penn State receivers are dropping the ball.
Quite literally. Entering last week’s game against Michigan State, no Power 5 quarterback had more catchable passes dropped by his receivers than Penn State’s Trace McSorley. Per Pro Football Focus, McSorley’s drop rate of 12.4 percent was the highest among power conference passers. Veterans DeAndre Thompkins and Juwan Johnson have struggled the most. Though, in fairness, McSorley took some of the blame for last week’s last-minute loss to Michigan State.

3. From Barkley to Sanders.
Former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley used to give Big Ten defenses fits. But not Tom Allen’s. In two meetings against Allen’s Hoosiers, Barkley totaled only 114 total yards, while averaging 2.1 yards per carry. Now, Barkley is with the New York Giants and Penn State has turned to Miles Sanders, a former five-star prospect who was considered the No. 1 running back nationally in the 2016 recruiting class. Sanders’ 116.6 rushing yards per game ranks sixth in the Football Bowl Subdivision and second in the Big Ten.

4. Can IU’s defense stop the bleeding?
The Hoosiers have allowed 12 passing touchdowns across the past two weeks, and while they’ve recently kept Penn State’s rushing game in check, McSorley has thrown for 300-plus yards in each of the past two meetings. In conference play, IU’s defense ranks eighth in the Big Ten with 432.3 yards allowed per game. The Hoosiers are ninth with 6.1 yards allowed per play. Penn State ranks third in Big Ten play with 493.3 yards per game and first with 7.01 yards per play.

11 comments

  1. Prediction-PSU receivers will look all world on Saturday. Our defense will continue to look like a dumpster fire. TA will say the same thing after the game. Just have to concentrate on the next game. Like I said, IU will not win another game this year. Sad. I really thought they would take the next step. Now I realize Allen is not the answer.

    1. Jeff- you’re wrong! DeBord is an innovative mastermind that will dial up an amazing gameplan. And Tom Allen, the college version of Bill Belichick, will calmly calculate the perfect defensive strategy. And in the fourth quarter, with the game close, we’ll lean on our running backs who are now all faster than Usain Bolt because they’re measured in mph instead of ordinary 40 yard times. And our superior offensive line, which doubled it’s strength during the off-season, will dominate and allow cannon-armed Ramsey to lead the team to yet another come-from-behind victory with some well placed bullets into the endzone. What? None of that is true? You say Allen has only beaten 2 Big Ten teams and those were the worst 2 teams in all of Power 5 football? Well then you are probably right. In the words of the fan from The Waterboy. “Oh, No! We suck again!” Oh well at least IU’s European football team good.

  2. Thank you for morning laugh. You bring up great points. Just sad. I wish TA was the answer. He isn’t. Both he and Glass need to go. It will be a while because McRobbie has shown no real interest in sports.

  3. Sorry but I disagree with you Jeff H, at this point at least. The current freshman class, the first class this staff recruited is very talented. Will they be good enough in the future to win games they are not expected to, we don’t know yet. Until Iowa, IU fought well against better teams and beat the teams they were suppose to beat and did the same last year. This current roster isn’t the roster this coaching staff needs to turn things around against the best teams. HC and others want to think Wilson had a roster to do the job but even he could beat top teams in the B1G – MSU in 2016 only won 3 games so they don’t count as a top team that year.

    We never know about a HC until they get players to fill the roster like they want – look at Kentucky over the last 6 years. Expecting immediate results isn’t the way it works in big time football as you have to have some patience to build a roster. We will find out this game if the Hoosiers have the spirit to win a few more games this year. Don’t jump to conclusions and see how things turn out.

  4. V- Jeff Brohm took a team of literally the worst recruits in the Big Ten and beat IU to go to a bowl and finish with a winning season. This year, he’s already beaten a ranked opponent and has a top 25 recruiting class. But that’s the difference between hiring a proven coach with a proven staff (Like IU did with Hep or Mallory) and going cheap by hiring a coordinator (Like Cameron, Lynch, Wilson and now Allen) If you think cheapest is best, you probably live in a trailer and drive a Yugo.

  5. I have a very weird feeling about this game. I think we breakthrough today.

    Penn State has weaknesses….

    Stevie Scott(a.k.a. “S Train”) will have a huge game.

    Indiana 35
    Penn State 31

  6. Vesuvius 13. You are exactly what IU wants. Always hope for the future. As Bill Parcell said, “You are what your record says you are”. Tom Allen is a loser. He is actually worse than Lynch. Lynch couldn’t recruit and would lose. TA can recruit but loses in spite of it. Watch the games with your eyes please!!!!

  7. Wow, how gratifying it is that I am no longer alone (on this site) in my opinions about Glass. 123 and Jeff H, your comments are right on target.

    v13, the quality of this freshman recruiting class, which you say is this coaching staff’s first, is irrelevant. It gets pushed out of the picture by bigger issues. Because when IU produces yet another losing record, it reinforces the narrative about IU Football, which then triggers the decline in recruiting, fan support, attendance, and confidence; all the things essential to transforming a loser into a winner. IU football needed something dramatic to disrupt the trend, that established a new narrative, and it needed it within two seasons of Wilson’s firing. It was Fred’s job to recognize that necessity and find the cure for IU Football’s continued losing, and he failed miserably. That something was a proven coach with a proven staff. And now, instead of “breaking through,” IU Football appears to be breaking down, again. Instead of ascending like Purdue, IU Football appears to be in decline.

    You just can’t ignore the product that is put on the field, or the contrast between Purdue’s ascent and IU’s apparent decline, in such a short period of time. IU beat Purdue four years in a row. Both schools got new head coaches at the same time, and within a year, Purdue is a better program and gaining momentum. We talk about IU’s improved recruiting, but Purdue’s incoming class is ranked in the top 25, while we hope IU’s next class will remain ranked in the top 50. That’s a huge difference!

    Glass was lazy and cheep, so he took the easy way out, promoted an inexperienced DC to be the head coach, and then expressed his “hope” that it would work out. How stupid, especially in light of our history with the Bill Lynch debacle. Hope is not a strategy and Fred Glass needs to be fired for his incompetence regarding IU’s Football program. All the facility improvements won’t amount to a hill of beans unless you have a coach that has proven he can recruit and lead the talent necessary to win. T.A. is quickly running out of time.

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