In­di­ana needs near per­fec­tion to stop Penn St.

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Travis Johnson

STATE COL­LEGE » Al­though No. 4 Penn State needed a touch­down pass in the final sec­onds last week to keep its dream of a play­off berth alive, the downto-the-wire game hasn’t shaken the Nit­tany Li­ons’ con­fi­dence.

“We con­sider our­selves the best of­fense in the country,” of­fen­sive line­man Ryan Bates said. “We know how spe­cial we can be with the of­fen­sive threats we have.”

The top two among them, run­ning back Saquon Barkley and quar­ter­back Trace McSor­ley, have been fo­cal points for op­pos­ing coaches for a while now. It’s no dif­fer­ent for In­di­ana coach Tom Allen whose Hoosiers (21, 0-1 Big Ten) will try to slow the Nit­tany Li­ons (40, 1-0 Big Ten) at Beaver Sta­dium on Satur­day.

Allen has seen plenty of Barkley and McSor­ley in the past week and knows his banged-up de­fense will have to have a near per­fect game plan to take away Penn State’s best op­tions.

Barkley racked up 358 yards on 43 touches against Iowa and leads the country with 253 all-pur­pose yards per game.

“(Barkley’s) mak­ing runs that are im­pres­sive, and he can catch the ball out of the back­field,” Allen said. “and the quar­ter­back is just, man, McSor­ley is just spe­cial. He’s just got that moxie that you want in a quar­ter­back and that core con­fi­dence and that be­lief.”

It showed up when McSor­ley led a final two-minute drive end­ing with a dart over the mid­dle to Juwan Johnson for the gamewin­ning touch­down.

Even though he had his of­fense repli­cate the twominute drive in prac­tice, Penn State coach James Franklin would rather not have to watch an­other come-from-behind se­ries in the wan­ing mo­ments.

He’s glad his team has the ex­pe­ri­ence to bank on, however.

“We’ve just got to be a lit­tle bit bet­ter,” Franklin said. “We’ve got to be a lit­tle bit sharper. We’ve got to sus­tain blocks a lit­tle bit longer. That was prob­a­bly the difference on Satur­day.”

Penn State’s of­fen­sive line still may have some is­sues as start­ing right tackle Chasz Wright’s sta­tus is ques­tion­able. He missed the Iowa game with an un­spec­i­fied in­jury.

HURT HOOSIERS

In­di­ana has a much longer in­jury re­port and a bunch could miss an­other game after sit­ting out last week’s 52-17 win over Ge­or­gia South­ern.

Ac­cord­ing to Allen, the Hoosiers could likely be with­out start­ing cor­ner­backs A’Shon Rig­gins and Rashard Fant who are both deal­ing with un­spec­i­fied in­juries. De­fen­sive line­men Nate Hoff and Juan Har­ris, wide­out Don­a­van Hale, run­ning back Mike Ma­jette, of­fen­sive line­man Si­mon Stepa­niak and de­fen­sive back Marcelino Ball are all also ques­tion­able ac­cord­ing to Allen.

Line­backer Kiante Wal­ton had surgery on an un­spec­i­fied in­jury ear­lier this week and will be out in­def­i­nitely.

“We’ve just got to be a lit­tle bit bet­ter. We’ve got to be a lit­tle bit sharper. We’ve got to sus­tain blocks a lit­tle bit longer. That was prob­a­bly the difference on Satur­day.”

THE OTHER BACK

While plenty of ex­cite­ment swirls around Barkley, the Hoosiers are pretty hyped for their own tal­ented back.

Fresh­man Mor­gan El­li­son turned heads in camp and fi­nally got the chance to do so in game when he ran for 186 yards and two touch­downs in his first ca­reer start.

“(He’s) play­ing the way — after fall camp — the way he con­vinced me he could play,” Allen said.

NEW DUDS

Penn State’s uni­forms have seen mi­nor tweaks and changes over the years but the Nit­tany Li­ons plain­tive blue and white scheme, fin­ished off with black cleats, has largely re­mained un­al­tered.

This week­end, they’ve been given an over­haul.

The Nit­tany Li­ons will wear uni­forms that use el­e­ments from past edi­tions in­clud­ing hel­met num­bers, sleeve and pants stripes and grey face­masks. Play­ers are look­ing for­ward to one change in par­tic­u­lar, an accessory worn only once, by the 1979 team in the Su­gar Bowl.

“We’re pretty ex­cited about the white cleats, def­i­nitely,” tight end Mike Gesicki said. “Just be­cause ob­vi­ously, you know, here at Penn State, we’re wear­ing black cleats ev­ery sin­gle day, ev­ery sin­gle game.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.