PENN STATE: Five Days and Counting

Hoosier Nation begins its day-by-day preview of Saturday's Indiana-Penn State match-up at FedEx Field. Today, we look at five numbers to note about the contest...

30.8 – points/game for the Nittany Lions during the last four weeks. After averaging only 18.2 points/game in its first six games – and reaching the 30-point plateau against only Youngstown State – Penn State's offense has been much more potent during the last three weeks. Coach Joe Paterno's team scored at least 33 points three straight weeks while compiling consecutive wins over Minnesota, Michigan and Northwestern before being held to 14 Saturday against Big Ten co-leader Ohio State. Penn State still ranks among the bottom third of the Big Ten in all major offensive statistical categories, including rushing offense (8th), passing offense (8th), total offense (9th) and scoring offense (9th).

29.6 – the combined completion percentage of IU redshirt freshmen quarterbacks Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker this season. That's significant because it's unclear at this point whether or not fifth-year senior Ben Chappell will be able to play on Saturday after he suffered a hip injury in the second quarter of Saturday's 83-20 loss to Wisconsin. Both Kiel and Wright-Baker came to IU as highly-regarded recruits, and they've been neck-and-neck for the second-string quarterback job for the last year and a half. But neither has done much of anything with their limited opportunities. Kiel is only 4-of-17 for 71 yards and two interceptions this season, while Wright-Baker is 4-of-10 for 73 yards, one touchdown and one interception. It's unclear which would start if Chappell is unable to go, but it's clear that it would be a mountainous assignment for either against Lions.

3 – 100-yard rushing efforts this season by Penn State tailback Evan Royster. While those are solid numbers, they aren't the kind that many expected from a player who rushed for more than 2,400 yards in the last two seasons and had 11 100-yard games entering the campaign. But Royster has been limited to 783 yards and four touchdowns in 2010. The biggest reason for the decline, though, doesn't appear to have anything to do with Royster. He's actually averaging nearly 5.0 yards/carry. His problem has been a lack of carries. Royster has carried the ball more than 16 times in only three games – 26 vs. Temple, 29 vs. Michigan and 25 vs. Northwestern. It's no coincidence that those are the three games he's eclipsed the 100-yard mark.

0 – wins for Indiana in the all-time series against Penn State. The Hoosiers have some long-running droughts against other conference foes such as Michigan (23 years) and Ohio State (22 years), but nothing matches the 0-for-forever against the Nittany Lions. The Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten in 1990 and began competing in athletics in the conference in 1993. Since then Joe Paterno's team is a perfect 13-0 against IU. Despite the imperfect record for Indiana, it has had a handful of close games. In 1993, IU wideout Thomas Lewis had an IU-record 285 receiving yards in a 38-31 loss to the Lions. In 2000 Penn State slipped by Indiana 27-24 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, and in 2004 IU's four failed efforts from the Penn State one-yard line late resulted in a 22-18 Lion win.

400 - career wins for Penn State Coach Joe Paterno, the most in NCAA Division I-A history. Paterno first became the all-time leader in Division I-A wins in 2001 when he posted his 324th win to pass Alabama's Paul ‘Bear' Bryant. He subsequently was passed by Florida State's Bobby Bowden, but regained the all-time lead in 2008 when he won his 376th game and moved back in front of Bowden. Bowden has since retired, and Paterno is 23 wins ahead of him on the all-time list. IU's Bill Lynch, meanwhile, is looking for his 100th career win.

Coming Up
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday – Four Names to Know
On Wednesday – Three Key Match-Ups
On Thursday – Two Big Concerns
On Friday – One Bold Prediction Top Stories