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Penn State Grades Vs. Indiana

Who played well against the Hoosiers, and who still has some work to do?

Penn State improved to 4-1 on the season and 1-0 in the Big Ten Leaders Division on Saturday with a 16-10 victory against Indiana in Bloomington. Today, we take a look at who played well and who has some work to do as the Nittany Lions prepare to host Iowa this weekend at Beaver Stadium.

Quarterbacks: Rob Bolden and Matthew McGloin passed combined to complete just 16 of 36 passes on the afternoon for 271 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Obviously, those numbers aren't very efficient, and they're not going to get the job done against the stiffer competition ahead on the schedule. McGloin did hit Derek Moye for a game-breaking 74-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, but Bolden also got Penn State off to a bad start by throwing an interception in the red zone on the Nittany Lions' first drive. For every step forward, there were two steps back, and five weeks in, that's definitely not a good thing. Grade: D

Backs: With Brandon Beachum and Stephfon Green still out at running back, Silas Redd was again forced to work overtime against the Hoosiers, and performed admirably. Even without a whole lot of help from the offensive line, Redd racked up 129 yards on 29 carries, good for a 4.4 yard per carry average. He did have a key fumble that robbed Penn State of points late in the game, but the total body of work was enough to get the job done as the quarterbacks struggled. Curtis Dukes also made an impression, adding 54 yards on nine carries in relief of Redd. Grade: B-

Offensive line: Give this group credit; it performed well enough for the offense to rack up 464 yards of total offense against the Hoosiers, and if not for a couple of turnovers by skill players, it probably would have led the Lions to more points. Still, though, it was discouraging to see the line fail to get a push when it really needed one, specifically Penn State's final drive of the game. A couple of first downs on the ground would have sealed a victory for the Lions. Instead, Redd found little to no running room, and the defense was forced to bail the offense out once again by shutting down a late Indiana drive. Grade: C

Wide receivers: For the first time this year, the receivers played well enough for the quarterbacks' bad performances to stand on their own. In the past, coach Joe Paterno has attributed struggles in the passing game to drops by receivers. Against Indiana, though, the receivers held on to most of the catchable balls and were more solutions than they were problems. Grade: B

Defensive line: Once again, this group was a disruptive force, dominating the point of attack all afternoon. Sean Stanley and Devon Still forced and recovered a big fumble in the game, and Jordan Hill came up with 3.0 tackles for loss and a sack. This has consistently been the best unit on the team this season, and the story was little different on Saturday. Grade: B+

Linebackers: Gerald Hodges really stepped up for the Lions in this one, racking up a team-high 11 tackles and including seven solo tackles in the victory. Glenn Carson was also in the mix with six tackles. The group really didn't make a whole lot of big plays on the afternoon, but it got the job done in a solid defensive effort. Grade: B+

Secondary: Injuries seem to be the big story right now for the defensive backfield. D'Anton Lynn was out from the start of the game thanks to an injury sustained last week against Eastern Michigan and both Malcolm Willis and Nick Sukay were banged up against the Hoosiers. Despite all that, this group was able to force an interception and held Indiana quarterback Dusty Kiel to 184 yards on 45 pass attempts. All things considered, not a bad performance at all. Grade: B+

Special Teams: With Anthony Fera back in the fold following an early-season suspension, this group is finally showing signs that it's coming together. Fera hit all three of his field goals on Saturday, a stark contrast from two weeks ago against Temple when Evan Lewis and Sam Ficken combined to miss three, and the performance earned him Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. Grade: A

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.