Penn State’s struggles have mounted and they’re not going away. A young, ineffective offensive line has been a root problem for the team’s many struggles on that side of the ball. Special teams have been inconsistent, at best, in tilting the field in the Nittany Lions’ favor, and to make matters worse, coach James Franklin has precious few personnel upgrades to make with the lingering effects of NCAA sanctions.
The end result has been four consecutive Penn State losses, three of which have been ugly results against lackluster competition. The Nittany Lions most recently fell to Maryland at home in a defensive struggle that saw just 413 total yards of offense between both teams. To date, Penn State ranks No. 13 in the Big Ten and No. 107 nationally in scoring offense.
Indiana hasn’t fared much better in its recent competition and is tied and remains winless (0-4) in conference play. The Hoosiers have lost four of five games since a surprising win over No. 18 Missouri on Sept. 20 and have averaged just 13.5 points in two losses since quarterback Nate Sudfeld’s season-ending shoulder injury.
The lack of a consistent passing attack has taken its toll on running back Tevin Coleman, who still entered last weekend as the nation’s leading rusher. He’s averaged 120 yards per game and 5.7 yards per carry in two full games without Sudfeld, compared to 177 yards per game and 8.8 yards per carry in his first six. Freshman quarterback Zander Diamont has completed 10 of 23 passes for 35 yards in two starts.
Meanwhile, Indiana ranks last in the Big Ten in pass defense, opponents’ pass efficiency and red-zone defense, as well as takeaways (tie) and penalties. Like Penn State, the Hoosiers are seeing their bowl hopes slip away and enter the week as four-point underdogs at Memorial Stadium.
Which team can bring an end to its current losing streak? And is another ugly 60 minutes in store for Penn State? Bob Flounders, Andrew P. Shay and Ross Tucker address those issues and more in this week’s Penn State preview on the Keystone Sports Network.