The Penn State Nittany Lions find themselves having to once again bounce back after a loss on the road to a conference opponent. After losing 24-10 at Minnesota last week, the Nittany Lions head back home and hope to get back in the win column. Today’s opponent, the Purdue Boilermakers, have just one win on the season and are in the middle of a seven-game losing streak.
If you are planning on being in front of a TV for the game, it’s on the Big Ten Network at 12:00 pm EST. If you can’t get to a TV, the game is streaming live on BTN2Go.
Below are some of my thoughts as we approach kickoff in this Big Ten matchup.
• The Penn State defense has been the center of a lot of talk this season, and not for good reasons. The Nittany Lions have had some big problems on defense this year, allowing opposing offenses to drive down the field and rack up points. Last week looked like another one of those games, with Penn State giving up 24 first-half points to the Golden Gophers. However, the defense was able to adjust at halftime and didn’t allow a single point in the second half. Hopefully, that trend continues today against the Boilermakers.
• Another week down and the Penn State backfield situation is once again muddled. After clearly taking over the starting job and rushing for over 200 yards the last time the Nittany Lions were in Beaver Stadium, Bill Belton seemed primed to keep it going last week. However, a fumble on the game’s first play opened the door for Zach Zwinak to reemerge and claim his stake to the starting job. Zwinak rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown after receiving just 17 total carries in the previous three games. Purdue ranks near the bottom of the conference in run defense, meaning someone could be in line for a big day. We’ll have to wait a few hours to see if it’s Belton or Zwinak who is able to take advantage of the situation.
• On paper, this game shouldn’t be close. Purdue has really struggled this season and have yet to win a conference game. The Boilermakers have been unable to find any consistency on either side of the ball. That all sounds good for fans of the Nittany Lions, but that may not necessarily be the case. Remember just two weeks ago, the matchup against lowly Illinois also looked like an easy Penn State victory. Instead, the Nittany Lions found themselves down late in the game and had to use overtime to pull out the victory. If Penn State plays to its potential, it should be a solid win. However, mistakes and poor play could easily turn this into a game that’s much closer than most fans probably expected.
Penn State has been good at home this season, losing just one game. Though the attendance has been down, the fans who show up are always loud and supportive. The Nittany Lions should be able to dominate both sides of the ball and send the crowd home happy today.
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