The 2020 Penn State football season is here and every Nittany Lion fan is hoping they start off on the right foot with a win against the pesky Hoosiers. However, Penn State will have to clean up their pass defense this go-around and keep Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at bay.
Last season, Indiana football had its best season since 1993, winning eight games. That total could have easily been nine as the Hoosiers took Penn State down to the wire in Happy Valley. Penn State's biggest struggles in that game came via Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey. Ramsey torched the Penn State defense for 371 yards through the air and hitting 76% of his passes. And now for the scariest part - Michael Penix is even more talented than Ramsey.
Penn State didn't have to face Penix last year as the now-redshirt-sophomore suffered a season-ending injury just two weeks before the teams faced off. Penn State may have plenty of film but haven't had much in-person experience against the lefty. If the Nittany Lions are to leave Bloomington with a victory, the secondary will need to step up in a big way.
Arguably their biggest weakness throughout all of last season, Penn State's pass defense left huge gaps all over the field. As some younger corners step up and get more reps, it's likely this defense takes a big step forward. If this game was a few weeks into the season, there would be far more confidence that Penix and the Indiana passing attack could be kept in check.
Even with John Reid graduating, Penn State's cornerback room could be greatly improved this season from a pure talent perspective and a healthy Tariq Castro-Fields could go back to his All-Big Ten self. If Jaquan Brisker and Lamont Wade make reasonable progressions and become more comfortable in their schemes and reads, this Penn State secondary has the ability to lockdown Michael Penix and start the 2020 season with a win.