Penn State Nittany Lions
2011 record: 3-1 (0-0 Big Ten)
2010 record: 7-6 (4-4), lost to Florida in Outback Bowl
2011 Sagarin: 20 (IU is #113)
2010 Sagarin: 50 (IU was #98)
Coach: Joe Paterno (46th season, 404-136-3)
Series: Penn State leads 14-0.
TV: noon, ESPNU
Blogs: Black Shoe Diaries
Technically, IU's most recent Big Ten home game was against Penn State. Unfortunately, that game was played in Landover, Maryland, at the Washington Redskins' stadium, a pathetic cash grab that...well, probably didn't have much of an impact on the outcome of the game. IU was a ten point underdog and lost by 17. Still, while Penn State leads the all-time series 14-0, it has been much more competitive when IU's home games actually are played in Indiana. Counting the 2000 home-neutral game at the Hoosier Dome, three of IU's last four Indiana b-ased games against Penn State have gone down to the wire. Penn State won the 2000 game on a late field goal. In 2004, one of Penn State's worst teams of the Paterno era put the second-to-last nail in Gerry Dinardo's coffin with a goal line stand (first and goal from the one for IU). In 2007, Kellen Lewis fumbled on what could have been the game-winning drive. Again, 14-0 is 14-0, but it's been a while since Penn State dispatched the Hoosiers easily in Bloomington.
The Nittany Lions had a below-average season by their standards in 2010, and are off to a 3-1 start in 2011, with a home loss to Alabama and a narrow road win at Temple the most notable outcomes. PSU remains unsettled at quarterback, with Robert Bolden and Matt McGloin sharing time, but the defense has been excellent. The Nittany Lions are #8 in FBS in total defense, #7 in pass defense, #10 in scoring defense, and #30 in rushing defense.
|Sam Ficken||3||0 - 0||0 - 0||0 - 0||1 - 2||0 - 0||0||0|
Looking at the numbers, it's not entirely clear to me how Bolden is hanging in this competition. McGloin's numbers are quite a bit better in fewer attempts. Still, this seems to be what Penn State is doing, so we should expect to see both guys tomorrow. Silas Redd has stepped in nicely at running back in place of Evan Royster, running for 303 yards in the pre-conference, and Brandon Beachum and Curtis Dukes also have contributed. Derek Moye continues to be one of the most dangerous receivers in the Big Ten, with 285 yards and 2 TDs. Justin Brown also is a factor.
The Penn State defense, as good as it is, has spread the wealth a bit. PSU has 5 interceptions,k but no Lion has more than one, and 7 sacks, but Jack Crawford is the leader with 1.5. IU was shut out by North Texas for three quarters, so this defense will present a significant challenge.
There's not much to say about this one. Even IU's best performance of the season may not be enough to make much of a game of it. Still, it's the beginning of the Big Ten season and an opportunity to start fresh. I predcit improvement, but not enough. Penn State 24, Indiana 10.