For the first time this season, No. 10 Penn State is going to have to prove it has what it takes to effectively respond to adversity.
After getting roughed up by No. 3 Ohio State, the Nittany Lions will look to avoid losing back-to-back regular-season games for the first time in more than two years when they face Indiana on Saturday in State College, Pa.
Penn State (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten) is in danger of losing consecutive games in the regular season for the first time since Oct. 23, 2021, after falling 20-12 to the Buckeyes last Saturday. The Nittany Lions failed to reach the end zone until Drew Allar connected with Kaden Saunders for an 8-yard touchdown with just 29 seconds left in the game.
Despite the poor showing, Allar has faith that Penn State can return to the form that had it ranked as high as sixth in the nation just a few weeks ago.
“At the end of the day, we have to go out and do what we did the first six weeks,” Allar said. “Obviously (Saturday) was not good enough at all, but if we attack each week and don’t lose faith in each other, we can still be in the position we want to be at the end of the year.
“We just got to control what we can control (and) not worry about all the outside noise.”
Allar has good reason to be confident, as the Nittany Lions are averaging the second-most points per game in the Big Ten (39.7) and will be pitted against a Hoosiers defense that allows the second-most points in the conference (29.3).
It also helps that Penn State boasts the most suffocating defense in the country among FBS teams, surrendering just 218.1 yards per game.
None of that bodes well for Indiana (2-5, 0-4), which continued its downward spiral with a 31-14 loss to Rutgers last weekend. The Hoosiers have been outscored 127-38 over the course of their current three-game skid, and coach Tom Allen admitted the season is starting to slip away.
“I don’t think I feel it, I think it’s a reality that you get to this stage of the year and you’ve got several losses now in a row,” Allen said. “That’s where you don’t hide from it. You’ve got to address it head on, and you’ve got to really work hard together to help your guys.”
Allen realizes it won’t be easy slowing down the Nittany Lions, but he sees Saturday’s meeting as a golden opportunity for his team to get back on track.
“Playing a very good football team on the road that has a lot of talent at all positions, all three phases, and a tough environment to play in,” Allen said. “Great opportunity for our program to continue to grow and develop as a team.”
The Hoosiers have been seeking consistency under center, as they’ve gone with two different starting quarterbacks during their losing streak. Brendan Sorsby got the nod against the Scarlet Knights, completing 15 of 31 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Allen said he plans on having Sorsby as the No. 1 moving forward.
Indiana and Penn State last met on Nov. 5, 2022, with the Nittany Lions coming away with a 45-14 victory.
–Field Level Media