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Penn State Football: Previewing The Opponent: Indiana

by on November 07, 2014 2:00 PM

It's coming down to crunch time for Penn State football and its bid to make a bowl game for the first time in the post-sanction era.

With only four games remaining in the regular season, the Nittany Lions must win at least two more games to become bowl eligible.

Penn State will face Indiana first with games against Temple, Illinois and Michigan State remaining on the schedule. 

The Hoosiers come into the game 3-5 on the year without a win in conference play. Indiana knocked off Penn State last season for the first time since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten. The Hoosiers will look to do the same again this weekend but only this time behind the legs and running of star running back Tevin Coleman. 

Last Week:

Both teams are coming off defeats last week with Indiana getting the rougher of the two losses with a 34-10 setback against Michigan on the road. Penn State fell in the final minute of regulation to Maryland 20-19 and saw its losing streak extend to four games. Penn State looked the better team last weekend and a mutual opponent in Michigan could act as a solid measuring stick for the Nittany Lion coaching staff.

The Good:

Tevin Coleman leads the nation in rushing yards per game and after the loss of quarterback Nate Sudfeld has basically become the entire Hoosier offense. Coleman averages 8 yards a carry and has yet to be held to under 100 yards a game this season. Coleman can be a "chunk" player. He's had at least one run that gained over 40 yards in all but one game this season and while his carries might be predictable he's still not easy to bring down. D'Angelo Roberts has also been a serviceable second punch in the rushing game with just over 400 yards on the year.

The Bad:

When Coleman isn't on the field backup quarterback Zander Diamont has been a non-issue attempting only 23 passes since Sudfeld's departure in early October. The Hoosier defense hasn't been much better, giving up 30+ in each of its Big Ten losses to the tune of 34.8 points a contest which is 108th in the nation this season. Indiana did hold Missouri to 27 points in its upset victory in the third game of the season but the Hoosiers were a much different team that day.

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Oh, and Indiana has passed for 35 total yards the past two games.

 

 

The Player To Watch:

This one is fairly self explanatory with Indiana being more or less a one dimensional team. Stop Coleman and the only hurdle the Nittany Lions have to overcome is themselves. So if there is a secondary player to watch, it's Christian Hackenberg.

The Prediction:

Penn State isn't very good and neither is Indiana. That being said the Hoosiers have been basically giving away points for free this season. Even in Penn State's hobbled form it's hard not to like the Nittany Lions' chances of putting up points thanks to the likelihood of few Indiana mistakes. Coleman is good but he probably isn't good enough to beat Penn State's defense on his own. That being said, if the Nittany Lions continue to lose the field position battle it won't take a big day from Coleman to pick up numbers that can lead to touchdowns and field goals.

This game comes down to who makes the least mistakes and these two teams are proficient in making them. Penn State probably has the better players and that should be all it takes to win an ugly one.

Final Score: 27-17

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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