After more than seven months without IU athletics, something resembling normal returns this week.
Indiana football will open the 2020 campaign at home against Penn State on Saturday.
And while a completely empty stadium and piped in crowd noise won’t look or feel like a typical fall Saturday, the point spread for the game is familiar.
Indiana returns the vast majority of its eight win 2019 roster, but when it comes to facing No. 9 Penn State, the Hoosiers carry the home underdog label.
The consensus point spread has the Nittany Lions as a 7.5 point favorite. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives PSU a 73.7 percent chance to win.
After an unusual offseason, uncertainty reigns supreme when it comes to predicting season openers.
The series history no doubt plays a role in the latest line for Penn State and IU.
Penn State leads the all-time series 22-1, with Indiana’s lone win in the series coming in 2013.
But the games have been close each of the last two seasons. Closer than the line for Saturday’s game. The Nittany Lions defeated IU by 7 points in 2019 and 5 points in 2018.
On offense Penn State returns starting quarterback Sean Clifford, along with running backs Journey Brown and Noah Cain. Receiver A.J. Hamler is a key loss. The Nittany Lions return 74 percent of their overall offensive production.
If there is an opportunity for IU on Saturday, it will likely come when the Hoosiers have the football. Indiana returns quarterback Michael Penix, along with top running back Stevie Scott and receiver Whop Philyor.
Meanwhile, Penn State lost significant production on its defense, including All-American linebacker Micah Parsons.
IU and Penn State kick-off at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday in Bloomington. The game will be televised by FS1.
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