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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, September 30, 2017 1:00 am

Ailing IU expects huge challenge

TRAVIS JOHNSON | Associated Press

Indiana at Penn State

When: 3:30 p.m. today

Where: University Park, Pa.

TV: Big Ten Network

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Although No. 4 Penn State needed a touchdown pass in the final seconds last week to keep its dream of a playoff berth alive, the down-to-the-wire game hasn't shaken the Nittany Lions' confidence.

“We consider ourselves the best offense in the country,” offensive lineman Ryan Bates said. “We know how special we can be with the offensive threats we have.”

The top two among them, running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley, have been focal points for opposing coaches for a while now. It's no different for Indiana coach Tom Allen whose Hoosiers (2-1, 0-1 Big Ten) will try to slow the Nittany Lions (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) today at Beaver Stadium.

Allen has seen plenty of Barkley and McSorley in the past week and knows his banged-up defense will have to have a near perfect game plan to take away Penn State's best options.

Barkley racked up 358 yards on 43 touches against Iowa and leads the country with 253 all-purpose yards per game.

“(Barkley's) making runs that are impressive, and he can catch the ball out of the backfield,” Allen said. “and the quarterback is just, man, McSorley is just special. He's just got that moxie that you want in a quarterback and that core confidence and that belief.”

It showed up when McSorley led a final two-minute drive ending with a dart over the middle to Juwan Johnson for the game-winning touchdown.

Note: According to Allen, the Hoosiers could likely be without starting cornerbacks A'Shon Riggins and Rashard Fant who are both dealing with unspecified injuries. Defensive linemen Nate Hoff and Juan Harris, wideout Donavan Hale, running back Mike Majette, offensive lineman Simon Stepaniak and defensive back Marcelino Ball are all also questionable, according to Allen.