Penn State (3-1) at Indiana (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 5, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (52,929) -- Bloomington, Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: PSU 2-1, IU 2-2. Away Record: PSU 0-0, IU 0-0. Neutral Record: PSU 1-0, IU 0-0. Conference Record: PSU 0-0, IU 0-0. Series Record: PSU leads, 16-0.
GAME NOTES: The Indiana Hoosiers will try once again for their first-ever victory over Penn State when the teams meet up at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon for a Big Ten Conference clash.
Indiana has never beaten Penn State in 16 tries all-time, and that includes six meetings at home. Last year, the Nittany Lions blew out Indiana in Happy Valley, 45-22.
Saturday's contest will be the conference opener for both teams, and both are coming off a bye week. For Penn State, it also marks the first true road game of the season. The Nittany Lions' most recent outing resulted in a 34-0 win over Kent State on Sept. 21, their first shutout win since 2010.
Indiana will close out a five-game homestand to open its season. The Hoosiers were last in action two Saturdays ago, and they were on the wrong end of a 45-28 final against Missouri. They'll continue Big Ten play at Michigan State and then at Michigan over the next two weeks.
In the win over Kent State, the Nittany Lions racked up 27 first downs and 463 yards from scrimmage, with most of that damage coming via the ground game. Their 287 team rushing yards (5.4 ypc) was their highest total since running for 338 at Illinois in 2009. Akeel Lynch ran for a season-high 123 yards on 14 carries, Bill Belton had 13 carries for 90 yards to go along with a 15-yard touchdown catch, and Zach Zwinak finished with 65 rushing yards and three TDs. It marked the second consecutive game that Zwinak had three rushing scores. He is the Big Ten's leading scorer, averaging 12.0 points per game. True freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg had a spotty day under center, completing only 13-of-35 passes for 176 yards with one TD and one interception. He is completing 62.2 percent of his throws on the season.
PSU boasts the Big Ten's second-ranked scoring defense (14.5 ppg) and No. 4 total defense (285.0 ypg). Senior linebacker Glenn Carson paces the squad with 29 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, while senior defensive tackle has 25 stops, 5.5 for loss. Against Kent State, the Nittany Lions yielded only nine first downs and 190 yards of total offense, as the Golden Flashes converted a mere 3-of-15 third downs. Carson led the way with seven tackles (2.0 TFL), and junior safety Ryan Keiser finished with three pass breakups to go along with a sack and an interception. Deion Barnes chipped in with six tackles and a half- sack.
On the other side of the field, Indiana enters the weekend ranked eighth nationally in total offense (547.3 ypg) and 10th in scoring (44.5 ppg). Nate Sudfeld is the straw that stirs the drink, averaging 286.5 passing yards per game with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions on the season. His favorite targets have been Cody Latimer (346 yds) and Shane Wynn (275 yds), who have combined for six of the team's 14 touchdown receptions through four games. Out of the backfield, Tevin Coleman is averaging 96.5 rushing yards per game (6.9 ypc) and has scored six touchdowns. Sudfeld was intercepted three times against Missouri, but he and Tre Roberson combined to throw for 377 yards, marking a school-record sixth straight game the Hoosiers have eclipsed 300 yards passing. Latimer went over 100 yards receiving for the second consecutive week, finishing with 136 yards and a TD on a career-high eight catches.
IU's defense had a rough day against Missouri, as the Tigers racked up 33 first downs and 623 total yards. MU ran for 280 yards (5.6 ypc) and three touchdowns as a team, while James Franklin picked apart the Indiana defense for 343 passing yards. Safety Greg Heban and cornerback Tim Bennett were two of the Hoosiers' few defensive bright spots in the loss. Heban had a pair of interceptions and finished with a team-high eight tackles (seven solo). Heban was the last Hoosier to intercept two passes in a single game when he did it against Virginia in 2011. Bennett finished with seven stops (2.0 TFL) to go along with a fumble recovery and two pass breakups. He is among the conference leaders with 7.0 tackles per game and currently leads the nation with 10 pass breakups.
Both of these teams have proven capable of moving the ball up and down the field. However, Indiana's defense is another story. Look for PSU to put another notch on its post in this head-to-head series.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Penn State 34, Indiana 21
10/02 10:34:58 ET