Saturday, October 24, 2020, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Indiana, 3:30 p.m. ET
Nittany Lions at Hoosiers Betting Preview: Nittany Lions (-6.5), Hoosiers (+6.5)
Penn State Nittany Lions
No. 8 Penn State goes into its opener with a six-game winning streak against the Hoosiers, but the last two meetings were one-score affairs.
“It’s the best Indiana football team that we have played by far,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “Indiana has played a bunch of games, and it played a lot of people really tough. And you’d better be ready to play. You’d better have all your T’s crossed and your I’s dotted and you’d better have the right mentality when you when you play Indiana.”
The Nittany Lions learned earlier this week that they will be without their leading rusher from 2019, Journey Brown, who is out indefinitely with an undisclosed medical issue. Brown rushed for 890 yards in averaging 6.9 yards per carry last season.
They also will be without preseason All-America linebacker Micah Parsons, who opted out this season due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and has declared early for the NFL draft.
The Lions still do have a bevy of weapons led by returning quarterback Sean Clifford, preseason All-America tight end Pat Freiermuth, and safety Lamont Wade. Sophomore Noah Cain, who rushed for 443 yards and eight touchdowns last season, will step in for Brown at running back.
The Hoosiers are coming off one of their most successful seasons with the eight wins in 2019 their most since 1993, but fourth-year coach Tom Allen is still looking for his first win over a ranked opponent. They lost all four meetings against ranked opponents last year and haven’t beaten a Top 10 foe since a 31-10 win over then No. 9 Ohio State in 1987.
With 19 starters back and sophomore quarterback Michael Penix Jr. ready to go, the Hoosiers are hopeful of a repeat of 2019’s success.
Penix, who added 15 pounds to his 6-foot-3 frame in an effort to increase his durability, will be making his first career start against Penn State. In his six appearances last season, Penix showed flashes of All-Big Ten potential, completing 110 of 160 passes for 1,394 yards with 10 passing touchdowns and two more scores rushing.
“He’s played some big games for us for sure,” Allen said. “Not as many as he will before it’s all said and done, but he has a natural poise to him that is extremely evident when you put him in these environments, and it never seems to be too big for him so I suspect he’ll rise up and play at a high level on Saturday.”
Indiana returns its leading rusher Stevie Scott III and (845 yards) and leading receiver Whop Philyor (70 receptions for 1,002 yards) from last year.
Nittany Lions at Hoosiers Betting Pick for October 24, 2020
The Hoosiers have played the Nittany Lions tough the last two years, losing 34-27 in last season after a 33-28 loss in Bloomington in 2018. This could be their best shot yet with the Nittany Lions have to adjust for the loss of Brown on offense and Parsons from the defense.
Nittany Lions at Hoosiers Betting Pick:
Nittany Lions 35, Hoosiers 27
Nittany Lions at Hoosiers Best Bet for October 24, 2020
The two teams have had a couple of high-scoring affairs in recent years with Penn State’s 45-14 romp in 2017 the lowest combined point total in the last four meetings. The Hoosiers look to have more offense this time around, and another shootout seems likely.
Nittany Lions at Hoosiers Best Bet: OVER 58.5
–Field Level Media