Penn State Football

Penn State Football: 3 Key Matchups to Bounce Back, Beat Indiana

Penn State Football is coming home to face Indiana after its first loss of the season last week in Columbus.

Earlier this season, Penn State broke the trend under head coach James Franklin of losing after the bye week, as the Nittany Lions are 2-6 under Franklin.

This week, Penn State will look to break a second trend, avoiding a second loss the week after the Nittany Lions’ first loss of the season.

Under Franklin, Penn State is 4-5 the week after the Nittany Lion’s first loss of the season.

Luckily for the Nittany Lions, Indiana is coming to town 2-5, with an 0-4 record in conference.

3 Key Matchups For Penn State Football vs. Indiana

Penn State defensive line vs. Indiana offensive line

Indiana’s offense ranks toward the worst in the country in every offensive stat, other than sacks allowed.

Penn State’s defensive line, however, has been fantastic at getting pressure this season, ranking first in the nation with 29 sacks and an average of 4.14 per game.

If Penn State is able to get pressure on the quarterback and shut down the Indiana running game, Indiana will not have many opportunities to score points.

Indiana has failed to score more than 17 points in any conference game this season, and ranks last in the Big Ten in points (125) and points per game (17.9).

Even if Penn State’s offense takes a bit to shake off last week’s loss, Penn State should not have a problem keeping the Hoosiers from putting a lot of points on the board.


Penn State running game vs. Indiana rush defense

Indiana ranks 106th in the nation in run defense, giving up 4.66 yards per carry and 174.4 yards per game and 14 rushing touchdowns on the season.

Up until last Saturday, Penn State was averaging the most rushing yards per game in the Big Ten and the most carries per game. Even after going away from the running game for most of the game against the Buckeyes, Penn State is still averaging the second most rushing yards per game, with 181.3 rushing yards per game.

If Penn State can get back to running the football and controlling possession, Penn State’s offense should be in a much better position to succeed against the Hoosiers than it was against the Buckeyes.

A focus on the running game can keep Penn State’s offense on schedule and help the Nittany Lions avoid 3rd and long situations and another horrendous third down offensive performance.

Drew Allar vs. Indiana defensive backs

As poor as Indiana’s passing defense has been this season, Indiana’s defensive backs have picked off six passes this season and defended 22.

While Drew Allar is extremely careful with the ball (the sophomore quarterback still has not thrown an interception in 283 career pass attempts, last Saturday’s game against the Buckeyes showed that Allar must find a way to move the ball downfield and keep the defense from stacking the box against the running game.

Penn State has the perfect opportunity to get back on track this weekend against a reeling Indiana team.

If Penn State wants to accomplish loftier goals later in the season, the Nittany Lions must take the opportunity this weekend to improve its offensive play and get back on track before heading to College Park next week and facing Michigan the week after.

MORE: How Michigan Cheating Scandal Could Significantly Impact Penn State


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About Author

Robert Casturo

Expertise: College Football, Penn State Football Education: Saint Vincent College, Penn State Law School Location: Washington, DC Experience: Robert Casturo has covered Penn State football for NittanyCentral since 2022. Casturo previously covered Penn State football through a social media presence (@PSU_FB_Thoughts on X) since 2019. Casturo earned his bachelor's degree from Saint Vincent College in 2015, where he was a punter for 1 season on the Saint Vincent College football team and worked in the athletic department for 2 years as a student manager. Casturo earned his JD from Penn State Law in 2018 where he was a senior editor of the Penn State Law Review.