BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The point spreads are out for the Week 5 games in the Big Ten, and it's a huge number on Indiana's game at Penn State on Saturday night.
According to the Fanduel.com website, Indiana has opened as an 11.5-point underdog to the Nittany Lions, who are 4-0, ranked No. 4 in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll and been the most impressive team in the Big Ten so far this season.
The same can't be said for Indiana, which opened the season ranked No. 17 in the AP preseason poll — its first preseason national ranking since 1969 — but the Hoosiers aren't ranked any longer after losses to current No. 5 Iowa and No. 7 Cincinnati. The Hoosiers are 2-2, with nonconference wins over Idaho and Western Kentucky.
Indiana is 1-3 against the spread this year, beating Idaho 56-14 as 30.5-point favorites, but losing big to both Iowa (34-6) and Cincinnati (38-24) as 3.5-point underdogs. The Hoosiers beat Western Kentucky 33-31 last Saturday as 8.5-point favorites.
There's a bright national spotlight on Indiana's game at Penn State on Saturday. The game kicks off in prime time, and will be televised on ABC starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. A capacity crowd of more than 106,000 fans is expected, and Penn State is doing a "Stripe-Out,'' which should make for a loud and raucous environment at Beaver Stadium.
The Indiana-Penn State rivalry has been a good one the past few years after decades of domination by the Nittany Lions, who are 22-2 all-time in the series.
A year ago, Penn State was ranked No. 8 in the country when it game to Bloomington on Oct. 24 to open the COVID-delayed 2020 season. Indiana was unranked at the time and was a 7-point underdog, but they shocked the Nittany Lions with a 36-35 overtime victory.
Indiana led a 10-point halftime lead slip away, and fell behind 28-20 with 1:42 to go when Penn State's Devyn Ford scored on a 14-yard run. But the Hoosiers marched downfield and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. completed five straight passes on the furious drive before sneaking it in from the 1 with just 22 seconds left. Indiana went for two, and made it to force overtime.
Penn State scored first in the extra period, but Indiana answered with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Penix to Whip Philyor. Indiana coach Tom Allen then eschewed the point-after attempt and went for a two-point conversion and the win. Penix dove toward the left pylon and barely made it for the score, and it held up on review for a 36-35 win.
The two previous games have been good, too, just with that last-second drama. Indiana lost 34-27 on its last trip at Happy Valley on Nov. 16, 2019, but quarterback Peyton Ramsey, who took over for an injured Penix two weeks early, was fabulous, throwing for 371 yards and keeping the Hoosiers in the game right to the end.
In 2018, Penn State won 33-28 in Bloomington. Indiana scored a late touchdown and then covered the onside kick to get one last chance in the final minute. Ramsey completed three straight passes with no timeouts, but time expired with Indiana at the Penn State 44-yard line. That was Michael Penix Jr's, first start as an Indiana quarterback, but he injured his knee (ACL tear) midway through the game and was out for the season.
Penn State is 4-0 thus far, with two wins over ranked teams at the time. They beat No. 12 Wisconsin on the road in the season opener and beat then No. 22 Auburn two weeks ago in Happy Valley. They also have wins over Ball State and Villanova.
Penn State is 3-1 against the spread in their four wins, with something of an asterisk. They were 29-point favorites last week against Villanova and was leading 38-3 midway through the fourth quarter before the Wildcats scored two late touchdowns against the backups.
They won as a 5.5-point underdog at Wisconsin and covered as home favorites against both Ball State and Auburn.
Related stories on Indiana football
- REDEMPTION SATURDAY: Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and wide receiver Ty Fryfogle are best of friends, but even though they've both been struggling, their confidence in each other hasn't wavered. Both had huge games on Saturday, a bit of redemption for both. CLICK HERE
- INDIANA TOPS WESTERN KENTUCKY: Indiana rolls up 507 yards of total offense and Michael Penix Jr. and Charles Campbell have record nights in the Hoosiers' 33-31 win over Western Kentucky. CLICK HERE
- LIVE BLOG: Relive all the moments from Indiana's win on Saturday night, with news and views in real time. CLICK HERE