Indiana to cash in against Penn State at FedEx Field
November 18, 2010 5:45 AM
Morry Gash/Associated Press
Head coach Bill Lynch has led Indiana to a 4-6 record this season.
By Ron Musselman Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Indiana decided last summer to trade a home football game for a big payday.
The Hoosiers will pocket $3 million Saturday for playing Penn State at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
Indiana's "home" game originally was scheduled to be played at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind., which seats 52,692 compared to 91,704 at FedEx Field.
Indiana (4-6, 0-6 Big Ten) made less than $1 million per game for its six home games this season, but will triple that payday against the Nittany Lions (6-4, 3-3) at the home of the Washington Redskins.
• Game: Penn State (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten) vs. Indiana (4-6, 0-4), FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
• When: Noon, Saturday.
• TV: Big Ten Network.
"In my mind, I've felt all along that it's a good decision," Indiana coach Bill Lynch said.
Penn State, 13-0 all time against the Hoosiers, will be playing in metropolitan Washington for the first time since 1993.
As part of its agreement, Indiana had to sell 7,000 tickets, which it has done. A Penn State spokesman said approximately 50,000 tickets have been sold for the game.
Tickets range from $50-$150 for the game at FedEx Field, which is the largest stadium used by a pro sports team in the United States.
"I think that they have a reason for doing it," Penn State coach Joe Paterno said. "I don't know exactly. I have not discussed it with them.
"I think it will be a very good experience for the kids, but I don't know what to expect."
The Indiana-Penn State game will be one of two neutral site contests played Saturday. Northwestern will play host to Illinois at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
The distance from Indiana's campus to FedEx Field is nearly 650 miles; the distance from Penn State's campus is 210 miles.
"I'm not sure I've ever played in a neutral environment like this or in a game like this other than a playoff or bowl game, so it is different in that way," Lynch said. "It is still a conference game against a Big Ten foe that we have played every year, so our team knows Penn State.
Penn State and Indiana previously played a neutral site game Oct. 28, 2000. The Lions won that game, 27-24, at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis as Ryan Primanti connected on a 39-yard field goal with 18 seconds to play.
Fifteen Penn State players are from the metro Washington area, including 11 from Maryland. They include running backs Andre Dupree and Zack Zwinak, linebacker Bani Gbadyu, cornerbacks Shelton McCullough, Stephon Morris and Mike Wallace, wide receivers Brandon Moseby-Felder and Devon Smith, long-snapper John Rohrbaugh, defensive end Sean Stanley and safety Malcolm Willis.
Willis, from Marbury, Md., said he has requests for about 50 tickets from family and friends, but knows he won't be able to fulfill all of them.
"It means a lot to us, going home," Willis said. "Kids like me and Devon Smith and Stephon Morris, we've been talking about going back home and playing in front of the home crowd all year. So, we're going to go there and try to get a win."
Penn State's four Virginia players are offensive linemen Chima Okoli and Khamrone Kolb, backup quarterback Kevin Newsome and tailback Evan Royster. Royster, from Fairfax, Va., is happy to be playing a game close to home in his final season.
"It's kind of exciting," he said. "We've done a good job recruiting in that area. There are a lot of Penn State fans there."
NOTES -- Penn State redshirt freshman punter Anthony Fera had an emergency appendectomy early Wednesday morning and is expected to miss the final two regular-season games. He is averaging 41.6 yards on 43 punts and 67.5 yards on 49 kickoffs with 19 touchbacks. Freshman walk-on punter Alex Butterworth is listed as Fera's backup, but he has yet to kick in a game. Kicker Collin Wagner likely will handle kickoffs after relinquishing that duty to Fera this season.