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Penn State vs. Indiana,
10-20-2018 - Pick and Prediction

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Game Snapshot with Current Line

#343 Penn State
Nittany Lions -14
#344 Indiana
Hoosiers 61

Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 3:40pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Game Stats

Penn State Nittany Lions

4 - 2


Indiana Hoosiers

4 - 3


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A pair of teams from the East Division of the Big Ten take the field in the Hoosier State in a week 8 contest. The #18 Penn State Nittany Lions hope to get back on track as they visit the Indiana Hoosiers Saturday afternoon. Penn State dropped their second straight game as they were beaten 21-17 at home by Michigan State last Saturday. Indiana lost their second straight as they were pounded 42-16 at home by Iowa last Saturday. The Nittany Lions have owned the series, leading 20-1, and have taken the last four matchups, including a 45-14 home win in the last matchup on September 30, 2017.

Penn State Nittany Lions Try to Stop Skid at Two

Penn State had a bye week after losing to Ohio State at home but it didn’t matter. Another last-minute meltdown doomed the Nittany Lions with the winning touchdown coming with just 25 seconds to play. Penn State is 24-5 in their last 29 games but their five losses have all been bitter ones as they’ve come by a combined 12 points. The Nittany Lions were outgained 418-397, gave up 25 first downs to their 14 and allowed Michigan State to control the clock by a 34:12 to 25:48 margin. Both teams turned the ball over once but Penn State dropped a pair of potential game-clinching interceptions on the final Michigan State drive: those proved costly in the end.

The Nittany Lions enter this game 63rd in the FBS in passing offense with 239.3 yards per contest and 12th in rushing as they average 251.8 yards per game. Penn State is 8th in the nation in scoring offense as they put up 44.2 points per game and stand 34th in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 21 points per contest. Trace McSorley is 92 of 170 passing for 1,241 yards with 11 touchdowns against two interceptions while rushing for 447 yards plus six scores. Sean Clifford is five of five for 195 yards plus two scores. Miles Sanders leads the team with 104 carries for 700 yards and seven touchdowns while Ricky Slade (26 carries, 155 yards, four scores) is the second back in the system. Juwan Johnson leads the team with 19 catches for 221 yards and a score while KJ Hamler (18 grabs, 374 yards, five touchdowns) and Pat Freiermuth (10 receptions, 121 yards, two TD) are the only other players with double-digit receptions so far for Penn State. Jake Pinegar has hit all 35 extra points but is just four of eight on field goals with a long of 39 this season.

Indiana Hoosiers Hope to Avoid Falling Under .500

Indiana started the season with three straight wins but has dropped three of four after getting clubbed by Iowa. The Hoosiers now look to get back in the win column and avoid falling to the .500 mark on the season. Indiana was beaten handily in the total offense department by a 479-330 margin, gave up 26 first downs to their 22 and lost the time of possession battle 33:10 to 26:50 in the contest. The Hoosiers committed two turnovers while forcing just one and were gashed through the air as Iowa QB Nathan Stanley completed 21 of 33 passes for 320 yards with six touchdown passes against only one interception.

The Hoosiers are ranked 53rd in the FBS with 249.9 passing yards per game and 93rd with 149.7 rushing yards per week. Indiana stands 87th in scoring offense with 26.1 points a contest and stand 79th in scoring defense as they allow 28.1 points a game. Peyton Ramsey has hit 172 of 253 passes for 1,624 yards with 12 touchdown passes against seven interceptions while adding 189 yards plus three scores on the ground. Michael Penix Jr. is 12 of 15 for 125 yards plus a score. Stevie Scott is the lead back with 115 carries for 557 yards and four scores. Ronnie Walker Jr. is next in line with 21 carries for 95 yards plus a score. Whop Philyor is tied for fifth on the team with 18 receptions for 194 yards plus a score. Nick Westbrook (22 grabs, 289 yards, two TD), Donavan Hale (20 receptions, 230 yards, four TD), Ty Frofogle (21 catches, 238 yards, TD), J-Shun Harris II (team high 24 grabs, 217 yards, TD) and Luke Timian (18 grabs, 173 yards) are all reliable targets. Logan Justus has booted 19 of 20 extra points and eight of 10 field goals this season with a long of 44 this season.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

Penn State has been burned their last two games by fourth quarter miscues that ended up costing them dearly. The Nittany Lions had their chances to put those games in the win column but inevitably saw them slip through their fingers. Facing an Indiana team that was just carved up through the air by Iowa has to give them a reason to be confident. While the Hoosiers have 14 takeaways this season, they’ve given up 775 yards through the air in their last two games. McSorley should be able to have a solid game facing the Indiana defense and that should be enough to lead the Nittany Lions to a win here.

Prediction: Penn State Nittany Lions -14

Full-Game Total Pick

Both teams come in with back to back losses but that is where the similarity between the two game losing streaks ends. Penn State led both games they dropped in the fourth quarter before losing by one and four points, respectively, in those contests. On the other side of the coin, the Hoosiers have been blown out in both games, allowing more than 40 points in each contest while getting outscored 91-42. Can Indiana’s defense find a way to tighten back up or will Penn State’s passing attack get healthy in a hurry against the porous Hoosiers defense?

The over is 5-0 in the Nittany Lions’ last 5 road games, 4-0 in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, 4-1 in their last five on fieldturf and 4-1 in their last five after being held under 20 points in their last game. Indiana has seen the over go 4-0 in their last four at home against teams with a winning road record, 4-1 in their last five in October and 4-1 in their last five conference games. The teams have seen the over go 5-2-1 in their last eight meetings here in Bloomington. Given the way that Indiana has leaked points in the last two games, you have to think that this one is trending toward the over, especially with Penn State ready to put the last two games behind them.

Prediction: Over 61

Full-Game Prop Bet

Penn State lost their last two games as they wilted in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line. The Nittany Lions haven’t really been slowed offensively this season and they have the weaponry to make life miserable. Indiana’s defense has struggled to slow opposing teams, as we saw last week when they gave up six touchdown passes to Nathan Stanley. That has to make McSorley smile and get ready for this one. Penn State breaks the 40 point barrier as they go over the number here.

Prediction: Penn State Nittany Lions Over 37.5 (-120)

Half-Time Side Pick

Penn State has plenty of offense and they’ve held comfortable leads in their two losses only to see things slip away. The Nittany Lions should be revitalized not playing at home and dealing with an Indiana team that has been leaky defensively. Penn State is facing an Indiana defense that has given up 143 points in their four conference games. Indiana also has to deal with the dismissal of RB Morgan Ellison, who was banned from the university for two and a half years after engaging in non-consensual sex with another student. The off-field issues, coupled with the defensive problems, gives Penn State the edge at the half.

Prediction: Penn State Nittany Lions -7.5 (-110)

Half-Time Total Bet

Indiana is going to have to try and play better than we’ve seen over the past month. In their one win in conference play, they jumped up 24-0 on Rutgers and saw the Scarlet Knights make it a one score game. The Hoosiers have been dusted in their other three conference games by multiple scores and they face an angry Penn State team. The Nittany Lions are focused and ready to prove that they are better than what we saw late in their last two games. Penn State pushes this one over the total at the half, practically on their own.

Prediction: Over 30 (-110)

Half-Time Prop Prediction

Indiana’s defense has been weak, especially through the air, this season and that works right into Penn State’s wheelhouse. McSorley has capable targets that he can stretch the field with and put together a quick strike score. The Hoosiers have been good offensively but they are going to have their work cut out for them in this one. Penn State’s ability to do damage, both on the ground and through the air, helps them put points on the board quickly in this one.

Prediction: Yes to Will Either Team Score in the First 5 1/2 Minutes of the Game (-125)

Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.


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