Three & Out Offense: Indiana vs. Penn State

Zander Diamont is going to have to do more through the air if IU wants to win Saturday.

Zander Diamont is going to have to do more through the air if IU wants to win Saturday.

Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)

The Indiana Hoosiers play their penultimate home game Saturday at noon when the Penn State Nittany Lions come to Memorial Stadium. Both teams are riding multiple game losing streaks and are looking to break the skid. Indiana’s season was turned upside down when quarterbacks Nate Sudfeld and Chris Covington were lost for the remainder of the 2014 season. But enough of the season recap, let’s get down to the keys to the game for IU on offense.

1. Hold onto the Ball- Indiana’s super running back Tevin Coleman found himself benched last week after two early fumbles. That can absolutely not happen again. Coleman is by far the biggest and best weapon the Hoosiers have and losing him for any amount of time in the game will cost the Hoosiers big time. Coleman has to hold on to the ball, but that should go for the rest of the offense as well. Turnovers will limit this already hamstrung offense.

2. Throw the Ball Down Field- The Indiana offense has become too one-dimensional. It was quite evident in the game against Michigan when Diamont only attempted two second half passes. Indiana needs to loosen up the Penn State front to make room for Coleman. This means the Hoosiers need to take a shot or two down field. I am in no way saying they should air it out for 35-40 passes, just make Penn State respect the chance that there might be a pass. Diamont has the arm strength to throw the long ball, but he needs the time in the pocket to set his feet and fire the ball. IU also has the receivers in Shane Wynn and Nick Stoner to make a play or two down field, add in the fact that refs are flag happy when it comes to pass interference and it is worth the risk. If Diamont eclipses the 100-yard passing mark there is a better chance IU could actually win this thing.

3. Score Early- The Hoosiers fell behind 17-0 before they even sniffed points in last week’s loss. Being shut out in a half is demoralizing to both the players and the fans. The Hoosiers must break the scoring seal early Saturday afternoon or the game can snowball out of control. It would be nice if getting great starting field position could help out the offense, but even then it may be a struggle to score on the Lions. Even an early field goal could lift the spirits in Bloomington.