Blue White Illustrated

Indiana Pregame

Penn State Sports Magazine

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44-24 Indiana victory last October. But those fans won't see him again on Satur- day, because his nonthrowing shoulder was separated in a 45-29 loss at Iowa last month, bringing an end to his junior sea- son. Nor will they see backup Chris Cov- ington, who went down with a torn ACL in the same game. Who will they see? Most likely, true freshman Zander Diamont. A 6-foot-1, 175-pounder from Los Angeles, Diamont was slated to redshirt this fall, but those plans changed when Sudfeld and Coving- ton were hurt against the Hawkeyes. The timing couldn't have been worse. Dia- mont's first game as the Hoosiers' starter was against defending Big Ten champion Michigan State. The Spartans held him to five completions in 15 attempts for 11 yards in a 56-17 romp, and he didn't fare much better last week at Michigan, at- tempting only eight passes and complet- ing five for 24 yards in a 34-10 loss. It's been a tough situation for a team that was coming off a 5-7 finish last sea- son and was looking to compete for the program's first bowl bid since 2007. But as fourth-year coach Kevin Wilson has said, "It is what it is, so you deal with it." "What you try to do, though, is you try to deal with it within the framework and structure of what you do," Wilson added. "You don't want brand new jobs for the other 10 people. So we had some direct snaps and called it the wildcat last week [against Michigan], but there was not one play that was a new block play. … We've got to get the ball to our running backs, we've got to get the ball to [re- ceiver] Shane Wynn, got to get the ball down the field. But at the same time, it doesn't need to be a new play for the leC guard or the right tackle. "Fortunately, we have been here long enough that those kids know a lot of the concepts, and each week's concepts are different based on the defense. This week, Penn State's defense is not exactly like Michigan's. There are similarities, but it's not exactly like it." The one piece of good news on offense is that Indiana has a productive running back to help take some of the pressure off of an inexperienced quarterback. In fact, to label Tevin Coleman productive risks understating his contribution to the Hoosiers' attack. The junior from Tinley Park, Ill., is leading the nation in rushing with an average of 162.5 yards per game. The problem is that Indiana's difficul- ties in the passing game have had a spillover effect on the ground attack. ACer rushing for at least one touchdown in 15 consecutive games, Coleman has been held out of the end zone in the past two. And now Indiana must face the na- tion's top-ranked run defense in Penn State. It won't be easy getting Coleman into the open field against a Nittany Lion defensive front that is surrendering only 77.1 rushing yards per game. So there's a lot riding on the perform- ance of Indiana's offensive line in this game, and not just because the Hoosiers need to get the running game rolling if they're to end a three-game losing streak. They also must protect Diamont. Backup quarterback Nate Boudreau suf- fered a sprained throwing shoulder against Michigan and may not be avail- able this week. The only other quarter- backs remaining are a pair of freshman walk-ons: Danny Cameron and Bryce Smith. Cameron, the son of former Indi- ana coach Cam Cameron, has received some first-team reps in practice this week, Wilson said, but it's been a tough balancing act, because Diamont needs those reps, too. The key, Wilson said, will be to build Diamont's confidence to the point where he won't be tempted to scramble as soon as the pressure starts to close in. "Right now, as we keep evolving, it's [a matter of ] trying to find more ways to have some balance get the ball down the field, get it outside," Wilson said. "It's a little bit of a confidence factor. The pro- tection breaks down and he takes off running around. … We can't go into a shell and go three plays and punt. We've got to get the ball down the field, got to get the ball in the end zone." Doing that against a Penn State defense that is allowing only 17.8 points per game – the second-best average in the Big Ten – will be one of the season's big- ger challenges. Wilson is well aware of what he and his players will be up against come Saturday. "It's going to be tough against these guys," he said, "but we're gonna find some ways to do it. We've got to." NATE BAUER RECORD 6-2 Penn State's defensive players are hun- gry to prove that their No. 1 rushing numbers are no fluke. They'll have that opportunity against Tevin Coleman, the national leader in yards per game. The Lions' offense should find more success this week, but that matchup is likely to determine the outcome. On the road, expect another challenge. PENN STATE 23, INDIANA 18 PHIL GROSZ RECORD 5-3 Both of these teams are on a downward spiral and need a win badly. Penn State is the favorite because Indiana's of- fense is completely one-dimensional right now. PENN STATE 24, INDIANA 10 MATT HERB RECORD 5-3 With its top two QBs hurt, Indiana has seen its passing game dwindle to al- most nothing. In their past two games, the Hoosiers have thrown for a total of 35 yards. This game is there for the tak- ing if Penn State can muster even a lit- tle bit of offense. I realize that's no sure thing, but... PENN STATE 20, INDIANA 13 TIM OWEN RECORD 6-2 Indiana's QB position is in a shambles, perhaps more so than PSU's offensive line. The Lions should snap their losing streak here, especially if their defense scores some points, and I think it will. PENN STATE 16, INDIANA 10 RYAN SNYDER RECORD 6-2 Look for the Lions to end their four- game skid this weekend. With the Hoosiers allowing 170 yards rushing per game this season, we should see a balanced approach, even if it's only for one week. PENN STATE 28, INDIANA 14 N O V E M B E R 5 , 2 0 1 4 B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M 2 BWI'S FORECAST

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