No. 4 Penn State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) is back at Beaver Stadium this weekend to host Indiana at 3:30 p.m. on BTN.
The Hoosiers gave James Franklin’s squad a run for its money last season, but the Nittany Lions have the momentum following last Saturday’s late win over Iowa and will get some extra motivation from their throwback jerseys as part of the “Generations of Greatness” game.
Indiana (2-1, 0-1 Big Ten) gave Ohio State a tough game in the season opener — leading the Buckeyes late in the third quarter before Urban Meyer’s squad finally turned it on and prevailed 49-21.
After a week off due to a game canceled against FIU, the Hoosiers returned with an impressive road win over Virginia — the Cavaliers only loss of the season thus far — and a thrashing of Georgia Southern.
Indiana finished off last season 6-7 and 4-5 in the Big Ten, falling to Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, CA.
Defensive coordinator Tom Allen replaced six-year head coach Kevin Wilson following the regular season due to “philosophical differences.”
Allen still holds the role of head coach, now in his second season with the Hoosiers. He brought in former Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike DeBord to take charge of the offense, and he’s implemented an up-tempo scheme that draws comparisons to Penn State’s.
“I think the good thing about [their]offense is that our offense is similar,” senior linebacker Jason Cabinda said. “We’re used to it.”
Richard Lagow is back for his second season at starting quarterback following a 2016 season when he threw for 3,362 yards and 19 touchdowns on his way to an All-Big Ten honorable mention. The Plano, TX, native pocket passer is splitting time with dual-threat quarterback Peyton Ramsey. The duo has thrown for 802 yards and seven touchdowns in three games this season.
The Hoosiers have to replace 1,000-yard rusher Devine Redding, who left for the NFL Draft, and top receiver Nick Westbrook, who injured his knee on the opening kickoff of the season.
Indiana’s biggest threat on the ground is freshman running back Morgan Ellison (254 yards rushing, two touchdowns), with the biggest threats to the Penn State secondary coming from redshirt junior wide receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. (228 receiving yards, two touchdowns) and senior tight end Ian Thomas (163 yards, three touchdowns).
Indiana has the No. 99-ranked defense nationally in total yards, giving up 428.3 per game on average, and the No. 82-ranked scoring defense nationally, giving up 27.7 points per game.
It’s led by senior linebacker Tegray Scales, a Sports Illustrated second-team All-American in 2016 that has a team-high 26 tackles this season.
“I think the biggest thing with him is he’s a physical guy. He’s got really good instincts,” Franklin said. “I think his greatest strength is in the box, you know, getting the defensive line lined up, making adjustments and being a physical, downhill player from tackle-to-tackle.”
The Hoosiers have forced just three turnovers in three games, all of which were fumble recoveries. Their defense does, however, manage to get opposing offense’s off the field relatively quickly — giving up 63 first downs in three games.