We’ll review these over/unders to distract us from the Michael Penix injury. With a couple winnable games remaining, the coaching staff appeared willing to forgo his redshirt season to spark the offense. While his performance wasn’t statistically much different from Peyton Ramsey, there was a different vibe with the freshman at QB. If you’re looking for a silver lining, he’ll redshirt this season. Sorry, that’s all I’ve got. Let’s look at this week’s picks.
1. Indiana stuff rate in non-garbage time – Over/Under 22.9% – Actual: 8%
After being somewhere between absent and average during the conference season, Indiana’s rushing game broke out. In 37 non-scramble rushes, the Hoosiers had a loss or no gain on just 3 carries. This was against a team that entered the game with a defensive stuff rate of 27.1%. Part of the reason Indiana’s stuff rate was so low was due to the increased percentage of carries by Stevie Scott. The powerful freshmen not only leads the team in stuff rate, but it’s not particularly close. He had 70% of Indiana’s non-scramble carries, getting stuffed on just 1 of his 26 carries. He is 3rd nationally in rushing yards by freshmen. The Hoosiers improved to 42nd in stuff rate at 17.2% and face a Minnesota team that is 15th at 25.4%.
2. Indiana inside 10 yard line success rate in non-garbage time – Over/Under 39.9% – Actual: 75%
Indiana ran 4 plays inside the Penn State 10 yard line with the only non-success coming on the ill-fated 4th and 1 in the first half when, apparently, Hunter Littlejohn hiked the ball inexplicably. The other 3 plays either resulted in a touchdown or continued the drive that finished in a touchdown. Overall, Indiana had a 68% rushing success rate and a 40% passing success rate.
3. Total Trace McSorley 3rd down conversions on rushes – Over/Under 2.5 – Actual: 1
McSorley had 123 rushing yards on 17 carries, excluding sacks, with a long of 44. On third down, he had 3 scrambles, converting 1 of them. He had another scramble that he likely would have converted had it not been for a holding penalty downfield. Overall, Indiana’s defense did a good job of slowing down the PSU rushing game. The Nittany Lions had a season-low in rushing yards and while McSorely got his, Miles Sanders never really got going. Up next is a Minnesota team that ranks 60th in rushing S&P+.
4. Penn State points on their opening drive – Over/Under 2.5 – Actual: 7
Indiana has now allowed their last 4 opponents to score on their opening drive. Penn State’s 5-play touchdown drive was set up by a KJ Hamler kickoff return for 58 yards. Penn State started their drive nearly in field goal territory. Indiana is 122nd nationally in kickoff return yards allowed. Let’s not even talk about the 94-yard kickoff return in the third quarter.
5. Longest Made Penn State field goal – Over/Under 37.5 – Actual: 32
Jake Pinegar attempted 2 field goals in this one, making them both. The first was a 27-yarder and the second was from 32-yards out. Brandon Wilson did block an extra point. Late in the 4th, James Franklin elected to punt from the IU 34 rather than attempt a field goal despite the wind at Penn State’s back. Unsurprisingly, it went for a touchback.
6. Penn State winning margin – Over/Under 14.5 – Actual: 5
The Hoosiers played well enough to win, in fact, Bill Connelly had Indiana’s win expectancy at 56%. But once again, the Hoosiers fall short. Now they must head to Minnesota on a short week and win a must-win game with just 1 healthy QB that has thrown a pass this season. Despite that, Indiana opened as a 2.5 point favorite.
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