Jordan Wells / TheHoosier.com
Following last week's win over Georgia Southern, seven IU players face uncertain statuses for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. ET road contest at No. 4 Penn State, while two others are expected to be sidelined beyond this week.
"Unfortunately we did have quite a few injuries from the game, and part of the process is getting guys healthy," Indiana head coach Tom Allen said. "We sat some guys out and we're not sure yet if they are going to be back next week."
IU redshirt senior defensive tackle Nate Hoff, sophomore husky Marcelino Ball, freshman defensive tackle Juan Harris, redshirt junior linebacker Kiante Walton, sophomore cornerback A'Shon Riggins all sustained injuries in the Georgia Southern game and are questionable heading into Saturday's game vs. the Nittany Lions, according to Allen.
Allen said Ball suffered a "lower body" injury but did not specify any additional injuries from that contest. Allen also said Walton is having surgery on Tuesday for a setback that will "not be season ending but keep him out for a few weeks."
Harris, meanwhile, is "very doubtful for the immediate future."
In addition to those five Hoosier players, four were held out of Saturday's game for precautionary reasons: redshirt senior cornerback Rashard Fant, redshirt sophomore right guard Simon Stepaniak, junior running back Mike Majette and junior wide receiver Donavan Hale. Those four are also questionable for Saturday's game.
With seven players' statuses uncertain for IU's Week 5 tilt in State College, Pennsylvania, Allen views the situation with a next man up mentality if those nine are unable to go.
"It's a tremendous challenge for our program," Allen said. "You know, you get to points in seasons when you want to be healthy. Sometimes you are; sometimes you're not. And other young men to have rise up and play to a level that you expect them to; what this team demands, what our conference demands, and it's part of it. You look across the country and other teams are dealing with the same thing and you have to pony up, as we say."
Allen Pleased With Run Game Execution
Despite the injuries, Indiana still kept its concentration and enjoyed a productive afternoon from its rushing attack.
While Allen recognizes it's not a Big Ten opponent, he's still pleased with the execution of the run game and the team as a whole in last Saturday's win over Georgia Southern.
"I understand who we're playing," Allen said. "But at the same time, that hasn't always been the case. You go into some of those games, I've been a lot of places where I leave very frustrated because you didn't have the focus; you didn't have the execution that you want in several different areas. And I was on edge with our guys about making sure the little things were not being overlooked. We wanted to run the football well; we did, and that definitely is a positive moving forward."
The Hoosiers racked up 282 net rushing yards in the victory, including 186 and a pair of touchdowns on 25 carries from true freshman running back Morgan Ellison. Ellison was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week by the conference as a result of the performance.
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