You remember this picture, Indiana remembers this picture and Penn State sure doesn’t want to hear about it anymore.
Quarterback Michael Penix Jr.’s 2-point overtime conversion will be mentioned often this week as Penn State prepares to host Indiana at Beaver Stadium. The Hoosiers 36-35 overtime win started two seasons in different directions, and the memory certainly made the difference during Penn State’s offseason.
But unlike Michigan in 2018, the Lions aren’t set to declare a Revenge Tour (and it ended badly, anyway) this season. Instead, Saturday’s main storylines will look at how the teams’ respective quarterbacks and defenses follow different arcs, and how Penn State can go 5-0 with Iowa looming.
Penn State No.4 (4-0) vs. Indiana (2-2)
- When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
- Where: Beaver Stadium
- Television: ABC
- Streaming: fubuTV
- Series history: Penn State leads 22-2
- Last meeting: Indiana 36-35 (OT) in 2020
- Playoffs: Penn State has won eight straight games and is 11-0 at home against Indiana
About Lions: The defensive turnaround this season has been remarkable. In four games last year, Penn State allowed 138 points, an 87% red zone conversion rate (with eight touchdowns) and two teams to convert third downs above 50%. This season, Penn State is allowing 15 points per game, having five scoreless red zone practices and limiting their opponents to a third-down rate of 36.8 percent. They also have five interceptions (one more than the 2020 set) and have given up five more. Penn State plays an aggressive and relentless defense, especially in a secondary that peddles the ball. Cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields, despite not having an interception, allowed just eight assists on 17 targets, according to Sports Info Solutions. Nickel cornerback Daequan Hardy was also tough to face, allowing just six assists in 13 attempts. Their offensive counterparts are also playmakers. Against Villanova, receivers Parker Washington, Jahan Dotson and KeAndre Lambert-Smith totaled 353 receiving yards, including 204 after the capture. They allowed Sean Clifford to become Penn State’s first quarterback to throw 400 yards at Beaver Stadium.
About the Hoosiers: Indiana started the season 17th in the AP poll, and coach Tom Allen was ready to discuss how his team could be a Big Ten title contender. But the Hoosiers have a skinny 2-2 and had to sweat a 33-31 trip to western Kentucky last weekend. What is outdated? First off, Penix looked like a quarterback returning from a serious injury. He took seven sacks (and took 39 presses, according to SIS), which stifled his passing game. Penix’s completion rate (55%) reflects his rust, although he had 35 for 53 for 373 yards in a better outing against Western Kentucky. But that pressure number is something Penn State will be focusing on, especially with the way Arnold Ebiketie and Jesse Luketa play. Meanwhile, what happened to the physical and intimidating Indiana defense in 2020 that limited their opponents to three TDs or less in six of their eight games? The Hoosiers are last in the Big Ten in scoring defense (29.3 points per game) and have allowed 15 touchdowns in four games.
Penn State Rises to No.4 in AP Top 25
Penn State’s victory over Villanova lacks an “advantage,” said Franklin.
Sean Clifford becomes first Penn State quarterback to throw for 400 yards at Beaver Stadium