The Penn State defense is ready to take a big step forward Saturday -- into Big Ten play.
"Once you enter the Big Ten season, it's different," defensive end Jack Crawford said. "Indiana has a good offense and they run so many plays a game that we know that they are going to come and try to tire us out."
He added, "We really have to prepare for this team, because you cant overlook a team."
Fellow Nittany Lion defensive lineman, Jordan Hill agrees, even though IU enters the contest at 1-3 following a loss at North Texas.
"The biggest thing is that we have to go there against a no-huddle offense," Hill said. "Two or three games ago they got off 106 snaps, and that will be the most we see all season. … We really have to get after them and get after their quarterback."
And to do that, the PSU defense has been prepping all week.
"We're going to practice exactly how we see them on tape," Crawford said. "And try and get in shape for a no-huddle team."
He continued, "We're going to do everything we can to be ready Saturday."
Thanks to the scout team, and a few other things, the defense knows they will be ready for the Hoosiers.
"During the week you have to go through the practice with the scout team going no-huddle," Hill said. "And the big thing is the bigger guys have to eat really well all week."
While the Penn State offense has struggled for most of the young season, the defense has done fairly well. The Nittany Lions are third in the conference in scoring defense and total defense.
That's an improvement over last season, when PSU finished sixth and fourth in those departments, respectively. Why are things better now?
"I think the general attitude of the defense," Crawford said. "We are closer and everyone feels more comfortable in their position than last year."
An outing like last week's against Eastern Michigan helped, too. The Lions held the Eagles to a pair of field goals, one of which came during garbage time.
"It definitely helps confidence-wise," Hill said of the Eastern Michigan game. "It was definitely our best game as a whole team — playing together as a whole team. Hopefully it transitions into our Big Ten schedule."
That test beging Saturday at noon as Penn State travels to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers.