The Hoosiers (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) are the best they’ve been in years on the gridiron and ride into University Park, Pa., on a four-game winning streak, but the Nittany Lions (8-1, 5-1) are just as determined to stop them after suffering their first loss of the season last week at Minnesota.
The odds are long for Indiana after losing their only two ranked matchups of the season, but just how long are they? Let’s take a closer look at the matchup.
When and Where: Indiana at Penn State
- Location: Beaver Stadium (University Park, Pa.)
- Date: 11/16/19 (Saturday)
- Time: 11 a.m. CT
- Coverage: ABC
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It was difficult to know what to make of the Hoosiers at the midway point in the season, despite them sporting a 4-2 record. Losses to then-No. 6 Ohio State and then-No. 25 Michigan State seemed to deflate notions of serious improvement, especially as injuries forced them to bounce between Payton Ramsey and Michael Penix Jr. at quarterback.
Then, the Hoosiers started winning. A high-scoring home shutout against Rutgers was followed by two big road wins — at Maryland and at Nebraska — before they properly thumped Northwestern at home last week. Now, even with Penix Jr. to undergo season-ending surgery, bowl-eligible Indiana is on the doorstep of something truly special.
That said, the Nittany Lions are a significant step up in competition and may just be the toughest challenge on the Hoosiers’ schedule with how deafening Beaver Stadium can become.
Penn State Outlook
What’s scarier than playing a top-five scoring defense on the road? Playing one that just took its first loss and is angrily looking to get back on track at home.
The Nittany Lions are plenty good on offense, which wasn’t a guarantee after Trace McSorley left for the NFL after following the end of last season. Sophomore Sean Clifford has played exceptionally well at the helm of the offense, making full use of his array of rushing and pass-catching options in the offense. But the defense, without a doubt, has been the source of power for Penn State in 2019.
Concerns arose almost right away in last week’s 31-26 road loss at Minnesota, as the Gophers marched 95 yards on their opening possession with a 66-yard score capping the drive. Rashod Bateman took seven catches for 203 yards and a touchdown, the most effective a wideout has been all year against the Nittany Lions, while Tyler Johnson also crossed the 100-yard threshold with 104 yards and a touchdown on his seven receptions.
If Penn State fails to quickly stop its pass defense’s bleeding, Indiana might find enough of an exploit to pull off the upset.
Betting Odds & Trends
- Indiana (+14.5) vs. Penn State
- Over/Under: 54.5
*All odds are courtesy of Odds Shark
- 5-1 ATS in last 6 games
- 5-1 SU in last 6 games
- Total has gone UNDER in 5 of last 7 November games
Penn State Trends
- Total has gone UNDER in 5 of last 7 games
- 8-1 SU in last 9 games against Big Ten foes
- 2-4 ATS in last 6 games on Saturday
Head to Head
- 5-5 ATS and O/U in last 10 series games
- Penn State is 9-1 in last 10 series games
- Indiana 0-5 in last 5 series games
One more win would make this year’s Hoosiers the best of the millennium, as their seven wins are already the most reached since Bill Lynch’s 2007 team went 7-6. Just don’t count on that win coming this week. Crazier things have happened in the Big Ten this season — hello, Illinois — but Indiana emerging with a win this week would take just about perfect play and more than a few Penn State mistakes to go on.
Pick: Take Penn State on its home field every time until it proves unworthy of the distinction. Defensive mishaps last week might suggest a high-scoring affair, but a return-to-normal performance is more likely to see them shut down Indiana.
Take the Nittany Lions to win, but don’t count on the matchup covering the spread this week.