BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana gets a second chance to knock off a top-10 opponent.
Are the Hoosiers (2-1, 0-1 Big Ten) better prepared to do to No. 4 Penn State (4-0, 1-0) what they couldn't do against then-No. 2 Ohio State in the season opener?
Coach Tom Allen believes.
"Going into Ohio State and game one, there were a lot of things you think are a certain way, a certain impression you have, and now you know," Allen said. "We had questions about some positions."
", , You Know What to Do!" pic.twitter.com/tNaUaAzSN0— Indiana Football (@HoosierFootball) September 24, 2017
One question was answered this past Saturday when freshman tailback Morgan Ellison rushed for 186 yards in a 52-17 victory over Georgia Southern. Ellison has a team-leading 257 rushing yards and averages 5.8 yards a carry.
"We thought Morgan was a good a player and he's proven he can be a very good running back at this level," Allen said. "We are a much better team today because we have a better sense of who we are and what our strengths are. We know what to focus on. That gives you confidence."
That confidence jumped with a win at Virginia, a team that is now 3-1 with a victory at Boise State, and then again by dominating Georgia Southern with a rushing attack that had been missing the first two games.
This Saturday's challenge at Penn State is much more formidable. Indiana is 0-9 at Beaver Stadium, and 1-19 against the Nittany Lions. The Hoosiers' only win came in 2013.
Allen said this is a tougher-minded Indiana team.
"I look at the way this team has prepared, focused and finished," he said. "That wasn't always the case around here. That's a big step."
The status is unknown for injured starters such as cornerbacks Rashard Fant and A'Shon Riggins and safety Marcelino Ball.
Notes: Ellison was named the Big Ten's freshman of the week. Returner J-Shun Harris won his second Big Ten special teams player of the week honors. Harris returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown against Georgia Southern. It was the second straight game he'd scored on a punt return. Only Rob Turner has done that in school history. Harris leads the Big Ten and ranks third nationally by averaging 26.1 yards per punt return.