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Penn State Football: Previewing The Opponent: Indiana

by on September 29, 2017 12:30 PM

All that last second drama is in the books for now as Penn State looks ahead to a 3:30 meeting with Indiana as the Nittany Lions look to win with a little more ease this weekend. While the Hoosiers aren't pushovers in their own right, playing back in the friendly confines of Beaver Stadium ought to do wonders for an offense looking to get its swagger back a bit.

As for Indiana, the Hoosiers enter this weekend 2-1 on the year after their Week 3 meeting with Florida International was cancelled. Last week Indiana got back on the field and took care of Georgia Southern 52-17 after beating Virginia on the road 34-17. The Hoosier gave Ohio State a run for its money in Week 1 to open the year but the Buckeyes eventually pulled away from a 49-21 victory.

The Offense:

Simmie Cobbs Jr might be the best receiver Penn State sees all season and the Hoosiers aren't afraid to throw the ball his way repeatedly on the same drive. So far Cobbs has just two touchdowns on 18 receptions but his talent and ability to make catches in the air is nearly unrivaled across the conference and the nation.

Throwing him those passes, a streaky Richard Lagow who can sling passes as well as anyone but is prone to more than a few poorly timed and head-scratching interceptions. Lagow has all the tools, it's just a matter of making the right choices. So far his 2017 has been better than his 2016 with 564 yards passing on 51-of-88 attempts and just three interceptions so far. All of this is complemented by Morgan Eillison who is no Saquon Barkley but has helped the Hoosiers get their running game going averaging 5.8 yards a carry so far this season. He was named the Big Ten freshman of the week earlier this year.

The Defense:

Indiana's corners are some of the most veteran in the nation too as Rashard Fant leads the country among active players with 46 passes broken up during his career. Linebacker Tegray Scales is also fifth in the nation among active players 36 tackles for a loss during his career. Across the board the Hoosiers are a veteran unit on defense with juniors and seniors all over the field. Linebacker Chris Covington and defensive back Marcelino Ball are two more names to keep an eye on. 

The Special Teams:

J-Shun Harris II has returned a punt for a touchdown in two straight games and is third nationally with a 26.1 yard return average.

The Player To Watch:

Cobbs is the biggest threat, but Lagow is the biggest unknown. If he shows up to play the Nittany Lions will have a game on their hands. If he turns the ball over more than once Penn State might not have to wait until the final play of the game to win. Harris is a threat in the return game but the Nittany Lions have been pretty good about slowing good return men down in the past. 

The Prediction:

Expect Indiana to hang around early, but much like their game against Ohio State, the Hoosiers won't quite have the horses to get it done and Penn State pulls away. 42-24

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