IU seeks first-ever victory over Penn State
IU will try Saturday to do something it has never done before: beat Penn State.
“The dynamics are different every year,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said. “We’re not bringing all the teams back and playing one in a row and all that deal. This is the only time this team will have a chance to play this game.”
The Hoosiers (2-2) kick off Big Ten play against Penn State (3-1). All-time, IU’s record against Penn State is 0-16.
Kickoff is at noon for IU’s fifth consecutive home game to open up the season.
Despite starting the 114th year of Big Ten play, junior receiver Shane Wynn said it’s just another game.
“I wouldn’t say excited about it,” Wynn said. “We treat every game like it’s a big game. So it’s just a regular schedule to us now.”
Both teams are coming off bye weeks after completing the non-conference portions of their schedules. The Nittany Lions’ lone loss came against Central Florida, 34-31.
The team spent the bye week preparing like a winning team, trying to improve its mindset, Wilson said.
“We went out this past week coming off a loss and did not really kill our guys,” Wilson said. “We coached our guys like a winning team and the things we think they needed to do to improve to win.”
Penn State true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg has taken over the reins for former quarterback Matt McGloin, who is now with the Oakland Raiders.
“We’re always up to the challenge,” junior safety Mark Murphy said. “They got a great young quarterback and a good offensive line.”
The freshman is averaging 257 passing yards per game and has a 136.8 passer efficiency, which rank third and eighth respectively in the conference.
In comparison, sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld is averaging 287 passing yards a game with a 164.2 passer efficiency.
“Their freshman quarterback is really solid,” Wilson said. “Playing in a scheme where they understand how to take advantage of his strengths and not stress him out as a freshman with protections and run game balance and screen and in their play calls and whatnot.”
Penn State comes in with a balanced running game. They have three running backs averaging between 60 and 75 rushing yards a game.
IU has the Big Ten’s most prolific offense. They are averaging 547 yards a game, best in the conference.
Both the Hoosiers’ quarterback and running back are among the conference’s elite. Sudfeld is second in passing yards per game and sophomore running back Tevin Coleman is fifth in rushing yards per game.
Penn State features one of the conference’s most stout defenses. The Nittany Lion defense gives up 14.5 points per game, the second best figure in the conference.
In its last game, the defense pitched a shutout against Kent State during the 34-0 route.
“Defensively, as always, some stout up front, typical Penn State,” Wilson said. “Solid strong at backer, really good up front, big D tackle, couple active ends.”
Follow reporter Evan Hoopfer on Twitter @EvanHoopfer.
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