Hoosiers Head to Happy Valley
Bloomington, Ind. - The Indiana Hoosiers will attempt to win their second-straight game when they travel to Happy Valley to battle the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Hoosiers enter the game coming off a come-from-behind 17-14 victory over Illinois last Saturday. IU enters the game at 2-8 overall and 1-5 in the Big Ten, while Penn State is 2-8 overall and 0-6 in conference.
"Our guys have really been pretty good," Indiana head coach Gerry DiNardo said. "The atmosphere is better. The difference is everyone is a little more relaxed. Everything is definitely better. It's about what you would expect. You feel good about yourself. There's nothing like a win. It's pretty typical."
Indiana's defense forced two big turnovers against the Illini. Sophomore Kyle Killion led the charge with 10 tackles, two for loss and a fumble recovery. Junior safety Herana-Daze Jones intercepted Illinois' final pass to ice the game. After Illinois scored to go up 14-7, the Hoosier defense held the Illini on five straight series, including two three-and-outs.
"The way we finished the game defensively," DiNardo said. "We finished with three three-and-outs and a four-and-out their last four drives. That was significant. Also, the winning drive on offense. Other than that, it's about what I thought after the game before I watched the tape."
Junior quarterback Matt LoVecchio found the end zone with 24 seconds to give Indiana the 17-14 win. LoVecchio scrambled for the eight-yard score. He finished the final drive five-of-seven passing for 46 yards as well as rushing four times for 19 yards.
"We changed some of the actions and some of the routes putting him on the perimeter more," DiNardo said. "The design wasn't as much about the run game as it was about the pass game. What happened was he ended up running the ball more, but that wasn't the intent of the design."
The Hoosier-Nittany Lion match up will be shown on ESPN-Plus at 12:10 p.m. The game can also be heard on the IU Radio Network with Don Fischer (p-b-p), Dan Thompson (analysis) and Joe Smith (pre game, halftime, post game).
This marks the ninth meeting between Indiana and Penn State. The Nittany Lions have won all eight meetings in the series.
Junior Courtney Roby moved into fifth place on Indiana's all-time receiving yardage list with 81 yards against Illinois. He has 1,689 career yards and needs 673 more to become the school's all-time leader (Ernie Jones).
Courtney Roby has posted 286 receiving yards in his last four games and led the team in receiving in each of those four contests. In the Hoosiers first six games he had 193 receiving yards.
Quarterback Matt LoVecchio tied a career-high with 17 completions against Illinois. He gained 161 yards through the air and gained 59 yards rushing.
Here is a look at how Indiana's defense performed on Illinois last four drives of the game. 4 plays, 4 yards, 2:46
3 plays, 3 yards, 1:48
3 plays, 5 yards, 1:09
3 plays, 8 yards, 0:24
The Hoosiers are looking for their first road victory since November 10, 2001 (vs. Michigan State). Indiana has dropped 12 straight on the road.
Nittany Lion Overview
Entering Saturday's contest with a 2-8 overall record and an 0-6 mark in Big Ten play are the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Penn State's struggles this year have been well-documented, with the Nittany Lion offense and rushing defense taking the bulk of the criticism. Penn State ranks last in the Big Ten and 108th nationally in total offense (308.4 yards per game) and last in the Big Ten and 107th nationally in run defense (213.7 yards per game).
With opposing teams mostly running the ball against them, the Nittany Lions have been very good defensively against the pass, leading the Big Ten and ranking second nationally in pass defense (135.7 yards per game).
Last Out for the Nittany Lions
Penn State comes off a tough 17-7 loss at the hands of Northwestern last week. After a deflected pass fell into Wildcat receiver Brandon Horn's hands, Horn found the endzone for the decisive score. Describing the loss after the game, Joe Paterno said "This will be the toughest one yet."
Northwestern scored all 17 of its points in the final 6:49 of the game, finishing the game by piling up 253 rushing yards against the Nittany Lions.
Penn State quarterback Zach Mills completed 22 of his 36 pass attempts for 230 yards, with Maurice Humphrey catching eight passes for 97 yards.
Who to Watch
Quarterbacks Zach Mills and Michael Robinson both run the ball well, with Robinson ranking second on the team with 80 carries for 257 yards. The two QBs both see significant action.
Cornerback Rich Gardner is a big reason for Penn State's excellent pass defense. He is a cover-corner that opposing teams generally avoid testing.
Kicker Robbie Gould has struggled from long distance this year, converting on only 2-of-8 from beyond 40 yards.
DiNardo on Penn State
"Their defensive line has good depth, it just doesn't have the experience it had a year ago. I think their receivers are really talented and yet they don't have the experience perhaps a veteran team does. Those are the two positions that jump out at me. Zack (Mills) has played a lot of football and is an experienced quarterback. Those are the things that jump out at me."
"Penn State is a young, talented team. They lost some players from last year, but they're really talented. I think this is one of the great venues in college athletics to play at Beaver Stadium at Penn State. It's a great place to play and it's exciting to play there. We're looking forward to it. They're a pretty talented team. They just don't have the experience they had a year ago."
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