This isn’t going to be fun.
Like most Penn State fans, it took me quite a few days to face the realization that Penn State was defeated by Minnesota and their hopes at the college football playoff birth are hanging like a child’s loose baby tooth.
It was painful to have to go back and look at where the screw up came, and it was even more painful to realize that the screw up was pretty much everything. Nothing went right for Penn State against the Golden Gophers. The secondary play was horrendous, the play calling on offense was nonsensical and the inability to pressure a quarterback known for carving up a defense like a sophomore butcher continued a trend of the “great” Penn State defense unable to get to the quarterback.
Now, Penn State is tasked with building something up from the rock bottom they hit last week.
It starts with 7-2 Indiana, and it’s best not to say they’re a “weak” seven-win team because we all saw how that played out last week.
Quarterback Michael Penix is out for the year with a shoulder injury, which means Peyton Ramsey will get the start for the Hoosiers. He’s a big quarterback with plenty of experience but doesn’t possess the running threat that Penix does.
This means Indiana will be throwing the ball, attempting to exploit the Nittany Lions secondary just like Minnesota did. This could prove a great opportunity for the Penn State secondary to get back on track.
Penn State shouldn’t have much trouble stopping the Indiana rushing attack, so they can focus on the pass rush and hopefully put Ramsey on the turf.
On the other side of the ball, Penn State will have its own struggles trying to run through Indiana tackles, Jerome Johnson and Demarcus Elliot. Noah Cain should be a go, but Penn State will most likely go with the hot hand at running back.
Sean Clifford is the key player to focus on. How the competitive sophomore responds to the first loss of the season will be key. Clifford needs to sure up his decision making and gets out of the pocket when he’s in trouble. He has shown the ability to make big-time throws and it may come down to that.
Will the Minnesota game serve as a wake-up call or a speedbump too large to get over for the Nittany Lions. Will the focus be on Indiana, or will they look ahead to Ohio State. We will find out on Saturday, and it will be obvious.
Penn State 56 – Indiana 21