Sports

Gameday breakdown: Penn State Nittany Lions (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten) at Indiana Hoosiers (3-5, 0-4 Big Ten)

Penn State’s Marcus Allen helps Mike Hull tackle Maryland’s Marcus Leak during the Saturday, November 1, 2014 game at Beaver Stadium. The Terrapins won, 20-19.
Penn State’s Marcus Allen helps Mike Hull tackle Maryland’s Marcus Leak during the Saturday, November 1, 2014 game at Beaver Stadium. The Terrapins won, 20-19. CDT photo

WHEN: Noon, Saturday

WHERE: Memorial Stadium

SERIES: Penn State leads, 16-1

LAST MEETING: Indiana won 44-24 last season

COACHES: Indiana — Kevin Wilson, 4th season, 13-31 overall; Penn State — James Franklin, first season, 4-4 (28-19, 4th overall)

TELEVISION: BTN (commentators: Eric Collins, Chuck Long, Lisa Byington)

RADIO: WQWK 1450, WBUS 93.7 (announcers: Steve Jones, Jack Ham, Loren Crispell)

TIPS TO WIN:

For Penn State — Force Tevin Coleman to run sideways. The Indiana tailback leads the nation in rushing yards per game with 163 per contest and has run for more than 100 yards in each game. The 6-foot-1, 210 back hits holes quickly and seems to accelerate through them. If Penn State can plug up the middle, the Nittany Lions’ linebackers who cover sideline-to-sideline with the best of them, should take care of the rest.

For Indiana — Make big plays on special teams. The Hoosier offense is as one-dimensional as they come and the Indiana defense is allowing a whopping 446 yards per game. In the last meeting between these two teams, the Hoosiers forced a crucial fumble late on a Penn State kickoff return and turned it into a back-breaking touchdown. A similar play or two could go a long way in giving the Hoosiers an edge.

INDIANA PLAYER TO WATCH: Bobby Richardson is Indiana’s best pass-rusher and will look to add to his 41/2 sack total against a Penn State offensive line that has struggled. The Hoosiers need Richardson to be as disruptive as possible to keep Penn State’s offense out of rhythm and out of the end zone.

PENN STATE PLAYER TO WATCH: So far the Nittany Lions haven’t done much with their bread-and-butter play — the wide receiver screen pass. Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton haven’t had much room to run on the perimeter as teams have come to expect those plays time and time again. The Nittany Lions have focused on improving their perimeter blocking this past week. Hamilton could be the biggest benefactor of improved perimeter protection. He is Penn State’s best open-field runner and the Hoosiers do not tackle well.

KEY MATCHUP: Indiana’s interior linemen need to win the battle at the line of scrimmage against Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel. Hoosier center Jake Reed along with guards Collin Rahrig and Dan Feeney will have their hands full against Johnson and Zettel as Penn State’s defensive tackles have made it virtually impossible for offenses to move the football on the ground this season. If the Hoosiers can’t do what they do best — pound the ball with Coleman — they’ll be in trouble.

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