Blue White Illustrated

Indiana Postgame

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Lions clamp down on Hoosiers' star N A T E   B A U E R | N B A U E R @ B l U E w h i t E o N l i N E . c o m BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Penn State's defensive "challenge" le@ no room for interpretation this week. The Nittany Lions' defense, ranked No. 1 in the country against the run, set out to bottle up Indiana's Tevin Coleman. The junior running back was the No. 1 rusher in the country entering the game and was coming off 10 consecutive games of more than 100 yards, but the Lions were determined to break the streak. They weren't kidding. Penn State held Coleman to only 71 yards rushing on 20 carries, and in the process managed to keep the Hoosiers' offense from scoring Saturday. "I think that might have been the best performance we've had this season," jun- ior defensive tackle Anthony Zettel said. "I think we held the best running back we faced so far under 100 yards, what he's been doing easily the last 10 games. He's a really great back, and I feel like their of- fensive line does a great job with their gap schemes and stuff. "We met our challenge. We wanted to hold him under 100 yards and he got 70 yards, so we were excited." In the other locker room, the mood was decidedly less celebratory. Speaking to the media a@er the game, Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson noted the disappointment and frustration his feature back felt at not reaching the same level of success he'd become accustomed to. "We're not necessarily trying to always get his stats as much as win the game," Wilson said. "We just had a hard time getting the ball outside, and they're pretty stout. We didn't block them inside. He ran hard, had a great week of practice. "I think he's a phenomenal player. They were giving up 77 as a team. He had 70 on him. So he had a solid day, but I know he's going to be disappointed because he wanted to win, and that was a game we needed to win." The Nittany Lions had been holding opponents to only 77.1 yards per game, and as a team, the Hoosiers easily sur- passed that number. They gained 153 yards on the ground, with Coleman and quarterback Zander Diamont doing most of the work. But Penn State coach James Franklin had been most concerned about pre- venting "chunk" plays. The Hoosiers had displayed a penchant for producing big plays in their first eight games, and Franklin was pleased that his defense was able to keep those plays to a minimum. Indiana's longest run was 18 yards, and its longest pass completion was 24 yards. "What we wanted to do is what we've really done all year long, and that is make people one-dimensional, stop the run. That's something that we've been able to do," Franklin said. "You look at his statis- tics, and their offense really went hand in hand with him. They were not an effi- cient offense. They would go zero yards, two yards, three yards, and then break an 80-yarder. And they've been doing that week in and week out." In fact, Coleman has been so effective this season that his 162.5 yards per game on the ground were tops in the country to go along with his mark of at least one rushing touchdown per game. Throw in his ability to break off the occasional big play and, as Zettel noted a@erward, a mission that largely determined the game's outcome was one they considered accomplished. "It was a huge focal point. We knew our challenge, so we weren't really worried about the passing game as much," Zettel said. "We knew if we stopped the run we had a good shot of playing good defense and turning the ball over and stuff. So that's what we met our challenge and we shut him out." G A M E G R A D E S QUARTERBACKS Christian Hackenberg was 12 of 29 for 168 yards and threw a pick-six that supplied the Hoosiers with their only points of the afternoon. GRADE C- RUNNING BACKS Historians will look back on this day and wonder: How did one of the worst rushing offenses that PSU has ever fielded manage to produce the longest scoring run in school history? Doesn't make a lot of sense, but Bill Belton cer- tainly saved the day with his 92-yard gal- lop in the second quarter. GRADE B RECEIVERS The wideouts didn't look to be getting a lot of separation on Saturday, nor were those familiar screen passes working particularly well. GRADE C- OFFENSIVE LINE It was good to see Miles Dief- fenbach back in action, and the Lions did have some success on a handful of draw plays. But they also botched another red- zone opportunity in the second quarter, and they gave up five sacks. There's still a long, long way to go. GRADE D+ DEFENSIVE LINE The Hoosiers had little suc- cess running between the tackles. Tevin Coleman, the nation's leading rusher with an average of 162.5 yards per game, man- aged 71. GRADE A LINEBACKERS Nyeem Wartman made one of the game's biggest plays when he inter- cepted Zander Diamont late in the fourth quarter. Indiana's freshman QB proved a bit slippery, spinning away from Mike Hull a couple of times. But overall, the Lions did a nice job of keeping Indiana's playmakers under wraps. GRADE A DEFENSIVE BACKS Indiana didn't bother try- ing to stretch Penn State's defense by throwing downfield. No surprise there given the Hoosiers' injury problems at quarterback. GRADE A SPECIAL TEAMS Indiana blocked a 23-yard field goal try, but the punt coverage was very good, and Sam Ficken hit a couple of FGs. GRADE C+ COACHES James Franklin promised some new wrinkles, but other than Belton's big run, what happened Saturday looked pretty familiar. GRADE B CROWD Official attendance was 42,683, and the number of actual bodies in seats was a lot lower. Turns out Indiana fans aren't much interested in watching two of the league's worst offensive teams exchange punts. Can you blame them? GRADE D N o V E m B E R 8 , 2 0 1 4 B l U E w h i t E o N l i N E . c o m 6

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