Following a heart-breaking home loss to the Buckeyes, Penn State heads west to face the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette, Indiana. Here’s how the VBR staff sees this one shaking out:
Matt de Bear:
Penn State is coming off a loss to a very good Ohio State team, snapping an almost dominant 5 game winning streak. Purdue is 0-4 in the Big 10, ranking in the bottom half of the country in rushing offense, passing offense and scoring defense. Naturally, the Lions are only favored by 3.5 points. Excuse my confusion.This PSU team has been resilient at every turn this year, and I expect more of the same Saturday in West Lafayette. These seniors only have 4 more games in their collegiate careers, and for many of them, 4 more games in their football careers. A tough loss to a good team isn’t going to crush them. I expect another inspired performance from the defensive leaders, and McGloin to settle back into the player we have seen most of the season. PSU gets out to an early lead, and coasts to another dominant road win.
PSU: 42 Purdue: 16
Penn St is coming off an emotional loss, but they don’t have time to sulk. This week they travel to West Lafayette to take on a reeling Purdue Boilermaker squad that virtually needs to win out to become bowl eligible.
Look for Penn State to come out flat to start, but McGloin and Bill Belton slowly manage to turn the tide in the Nittany Lion’s favor. Penn State will score two second half touchdowns, and the defense will hold off a late rally by Purdue. The Nittany Lions will become “bowl eligible” with the 21-17 win.
PSU: 21 Purdue: 17
The obvious fear is that Penn State will come out flat following the loss to Ohio State or that they’ll be looking ahead to Nebraska and get caught off guard this weekend. Bill O’Brien doesn’t strike me as the kind of head coach to let his senior-laden squad fall into either of those traps. However, the Boilermakers are desperate for a win and they’ll be playing for bowl eligibility this weekend. Penn State may struggle to run the ball again and with Kyle Carter questionable, O’Brien and McGloin may have to get creative to find a groove for the offense. In the end, Penn State’s athletes and swarming defense will be too much for Purdue and Penn State will pull away with a late score.
Purdue hasn’t beaten Penn State since 2004 and it doesn’t look like this is going to be the year they end that streak. The Boilermakers had high expectations coming into this season and many thought they would meet those expectations after a strong start to the season (their only non-conference loss was to Notre Dame by three points). However, the Big Ten season has not been kind to Purdue, as they’re 0-4 in conference play. The Nittany Lions are coming off a rough but hard-fought loss to Ohio State and I think they’ll rebound quite nicely. Look for Penn State to get their running game back on track and to be a lot more disciplined than they were against the Buckeyes. Ted Roof’s defense will also play much better than they did against Ohio State and not let up huge plays, no matter which Purdue quarterback is under center. But as bad as Purdue has looked recently, Penn State can’t get caught looking ahead to Nebraska and underestimate Purdue.
Purdue’s defense has been horrendous in B1G play with its best performance against a totally flat Buckeye squad that still managed to tie the game and win in OT. I see a strong bounce back by the Lions with a decent ground game and continued success in the air.
Tim Tolley is an editorial director and national recruiting analyst for FanSided and covers Penn State recruiting for the Centre County Gazette. He's the former editor of VictoryBellRings.com and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]