4 weeks into the season, 5 if you count week 0, and it appears that much of the preseason hype has left Indiana’s sails. Indiana is in a 3 way tie in the B1G as a whole with a 2-2 record for 9th, and currently has the worst record in the B1G East. It’s been a humbling year for Tom Allen’s crew.
That said, the season still has 8 games left to go. We are going to learn a ton about the Indiana Hoosiers over the next few weeks as they look to climb out of the basement and put Rutgers and Maryland back into the cellar. That stretch of B1G games starts out with a doozy at Penn State this Saturday. You may recall last years game. I don’t recall much of it. From what I was told though, Indiana played a terrible game but managed to do enough to get to overtime. From there, Mike Penix was able to provide College Gameday with a highlight clip for the rest of the season and Indiana was able to beat a top 10 Penn State team.
Now, after receiving a few weeks of humblings of different sorts, Indiana is again facing Penn State. Penn State comes into this game having done….exactly what we thought they would. They are Penn State. Can Indiana hang around and beat Penn State again? Was last year truly a fluke? It’s almost time to find out.
History and Fun Facts
- Despite what this graphic says, Indiana is 2-8 in the last 10 meetings vs Penn State, so there’s been some improvements made.
- Indiana has never been on a real win streak vs. Penn State (2 wins in a row is a streak)
- There’s not a lot of great history in this matchup, other than Indiana usually plays a good gave vs Penn State, the 2017 game notwithstanding.
- That game was to 2017 what the Iowa game was to this year.
- The first Penn State mascot was a mule name Old Coaly.
- On gamedays, State College goes from the 12th most populated city in Pennsylvania to the 3rd or 4th most populated city.
- Penn State is Pennsylvania’s only land-grant university. That means more to them than it does me.
- Apparently Berkey Creamery is an amazing place to get ice cream.
What to Watch For
1) How many replays of last year’s stretch do we get?
There aren’t many things I remember from the Indiana/Penn State game last year thanks to a few too many brews. I do recall coming back from a brown out during overtime though. And I distinctly remember drunkenly jumping up and down as Penix hit the pylon, and then the call was upheld. I said something to the effect of, “OH MY GOD, WE FINALLY DID IT” and then cut to black.
Fortunately enough for me, many of the key points I missed were highlighted during the next week. Cut and pasted onto every college football promo ever from last year to now was the stretch for the pylon. What a glorious stretch it was. My question for this week is, how many times do you think we are shown that play? I’m certain that Penn State will watch it at least once.
2) Will Indiana crumble in the Happy Valley atmosphere?
On a more serious note, how is Indiana going to do with the Happy Valley crowd. This is a highly ranked Penn State team. They seem to be for real. The last time Indiana went into a hostile environment, the game was over in about 5 minutes. Can Indiana perform better this game? Will Penix deflate? I’ll be watching for that.
3) How does Indiana backfill DJ Mathews?
Perhaps one of the biggest losses of the season so far this year isn’t a game, but the loss of DJ Matthews. Matthews was injured on a kick return, tore his ACL, and is out for the year. Bummer for a guy who was, at points, the only offensive threat Indiana had. The question for this game is, how does Indiana backfill that production? Miles Marshall looked like he got some looks after DJ’s exit. Fryfogle got his head out of his ass for a lot of the game. Buckley has been a complete no-show all year. There’s no question this is quite a blow. Indiana has some talent in the WR room, and DJ is the only guy who has produced week in and week out. It’s time for someone to step up. Let’s see if anyone does.
We Moved Hoosier Hysteria for This
My original plans for this weekend went up in flames the moment my sister decided she would move to her new home on this weekend. I was originally going to hike on up to Hoosier Hysteria with the elder Komodo, watch the game on my phone or I assumed the jumbotron, have perhaps a couple many beverages after, and fall asleep peacefully upon returning to my parent’s house. Then came news they moved this game to 7:30 PM on ABC. Fuck. Primetime. If you thought we left a trail of urine during the first 5 minutes of the Iowa game, well…be prepared for skid-marks.
I don’t mean to be hyperbolic. Well I do, but it’s the negativity I don’t mean. In my honest opinion, the possibility of Indiana being 2-2, 2-3, 3-4 during the season were a strong possibility. The wins projectors all put Indiana in the 7-8 win range. Losing this game isn’t the end of the line. The priority is, instead, improvement.
I feel Indiana has done that. I believe that Indiana in week 4 is better than Indiana in week 1. Is it good enough? Absolutely not. It is positive though. Let’s face it, the back half of the schedule is kind of…meh. At this rate, Indiana is perfectly capable of improving enough to rattle off 4, 5 or even 6 games in the second half of the season. It all starts with continuous, week in and week out improvement. I don’t expect Indiana to win, even though I picked them. I expect them to compete. They are talented enough to not get the doors blown off, and things seem to be going in the right direction. Upset? Maybe not. Building positive into a week off before Old Brassy? Let’s hope so.
Gametime: 10/2 – 7:30 PM EST – ABC