FORT WAYNE – Records: Hoosiers (2-2, 0-0 Big Ten); Nittany Lions (3-1, 0-0)
When: Noon today
Where: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: 1250 AM, 102.7 FM, 102.9 FM
Web: To watch a video preview of the game, go to Eyeing IU at www.journalgazette.net
3 matchups to watch
IU secondary vs. PSU quarterback Christian Hackenberg: The Hoosiers will take on the toughest passing quarterback they’ve seen all season. He also happens to be a freshman. Hackenberg, IU coach Kevin Wilson said, is advanced for his age. He has been Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice and is averaging 256.8 passing yards. He has thrown five touchdowns but is coming off the worst game of his career: a 13-for-35 performance with just 176 yards, one touchdown and an interception against Kent State in a 34-0 Penn State win. Hackenberg, however, was a bright spot in the Nittany Lions’ loss to Central Florida, which was four points from beating then-No. 13 South Carolina a week ago. In that game, the freshman was 21 of 28 for 262 yards and a score. All told, junior cornerback Tim Bennett and redshirt sophomore Michael Hunter will need to be on their toes, as well the safety corps of Antonio Allen, Mark Murphy and Greg Heban. Penn State junior wideout Allen Robinson, a 6-foot-3 receiver Wilson called the best in the Big Ten, will be a tough test outside the hashes, as well.
IU run game vs. Penn State defense: Wilson noticed a theme in both of the Hoosiers’ losses this season: a lack of a run game offensively and porous run defense. Sophomore running back Tevin Coleman and senior Stephen Houston were next to nonexistent in a 41-35 loss to Navy and a 45-28 throttling to Missouri. Penn State gives up just 14.5 points per game, so IU sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld, coming off three interceptions against the Tigers in the worst game of his career, will need Coleman, Houston and the other running backs to give him some support and open up the passing game.
IU vs. turnovers and mistakes: Slow starts have been an issue for the Hoosiers, and penalties have killed off drives too many times for IU to give itself a chance in those high-scoring losses. If the Hoosiers have too many miscues, they won’t stand a chance against a team with the balance and defensive prowess of Penn State.
Prediction: Penn State 30, Indiana 20
– Sean Morrison,
The Journal Gazette