Staff Predictions: Penn State vs. Purdue
It’s almost time for another football Saturday for the Penn State Nittany Lions (5-4, 2-3). The team will take on the Purdue Boilermakers (1-8, 0-5) tomorrow afternoon at Beaver Stadium. The Boilermakers have yet to win a conference game this season and the team has been in disarray on both sides of the ball for the majority of the season. Here are our staff predictions for tomorrow’s noon kickoff.
Penn State 45, Purdue 6
I want to say that this is going be a shutout, but I was generous and tossed the Boilermakers two field goals because Penn State’s defense has been shaky this season. That shouldn’t be a problem against one of the worst offenses in the nation. Purdue has tried everything from switching quarterbacks to spreading the ball out to each and every receiving option on the team, but nothing has worked. The Boilermakers can not run the ball and they cannot pass the ball.
The only bright spot on a horrific Purdue team is Ricardo Allen, the senior cornerback who has a knack for coming up with interceptions (and also for returning them for touchdowns). Allen will stick to Allen Robinson tomorrow like white on rice, but I still expect Robinson to have a solid game as he always does. Having said that, Christian Hackenberg will spread the ball out more than usual, so look for some of the tight ends and maybe even Richy Anderson and Geno Lewis to get involved.
Where things will really go well for Penn State is the run game, though. Purdue’s front seven stops the run about as well as Deepwater Horizon stops oil from flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. In case you didn’t understand the reference, they quite simply are incapable of defending the run, giving up over 200 yards per game on the ground. Whoever Bill O’Brien decides to let run the ball on Saturday will be dominant.
After a poor showing against Minnesota, the Nittany Lions will bounce back with one of their strongest wins of the season against the worst team in the Big Ten.
Penn State 38, Purdue 9
Purdue is really, really bad. Purdue is quite possibly the worst team Penn State has played this year, and it’s undoubtedly the worst team in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers haven’t won since early September, when they struggled to beat an FCS team, so Penn State should not only win this game, but they should win easily.
Purdue’s offense and defense are both miserable, averaging 11.8 points per game and allowing 37.2 points per game. They have lost by double digits in all eight of their losses this season, and in the team’s last four games, Purdue has scored 21 points. The Boilermakers should be the perfect opponent for the struggling Nittany Lions.
Look for Penn State’s backfield, no matter who it is this week, to run all over Purdue and open things up for Christian Hackenberg and Allen Robinson. On defense, watch the defensive line. Purdue has one of the worst offensive lines in America, which should mean a huge game for DaQuan Jones, Anthony Zettel, and Co. I fully expect this game to get out of hand, and for Bill O’Brien to put in his backups for some of the fourth quarter.
Penn State 31, Purdue 6
To say that Purdue’s season has been dismal is an understatement. Their only win came against Division 1-AA Indiana State and it was only by six points. This should be a fun game for Penn State.
On offense, Penn State shouldn’t have much trouble. Purdue’s defense has given up 214.9 passing yards on average this year and Christian Hackenberg should have no problem eclipsing that number unless he is pulled early from the game. Expect both running backs to get a lot of carries this week, even if one of them fumbles. Hopefully the offensive play calling is better this week too after O’Brien called four straight passing plays near the goal line last week.
Penn State’s defense really came into its own in the second half against Minnesota and Saturday should be an opportunity to keep that trend going. Purdue’s offense can sort of pass the ball, but the running game is just plain awful. Look for Penn State to focus more on stopping the pass in order to keep Purdue’s scoring low. Maybe, just maybe the secondary will have an interception since Purdue’s quarterbacks have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this year.
Penn State 41, Purdue 6
Purdue has been having a very rough year with only one win this entire season, but nothing is a given for Penn State. Both defenses are having an off year. If the defense that was present in the second half against Minnesota shows up then Penn State should have no problem stopping whatever the Boilermakers try to do.
Penn State’s offense needs to minimize turnovers and score in the red zone, something the unit was not able to do against Minnesota. Purdue’s offense is terrible. They have two quarterbacks in rotation and the run game only averages 2.5 yards per carry.
Penn State comes out fired up after last week and wreaks havoc on Purdue.
Penn State 28, Purdue 13
Plain and simple, Penn State is pissed off. Expect Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak to split carries, keeping a weak Purdue front — which is desperately missing Kawann Short — in check. Hackenberg should get the green light to let it fly again, so expect Allen Robinson to have a lot of fun against a weak Purdue secondary. Hopefully the offense plays to win as opposed to laying down and playing conservatively.
The defense has been a letdown this year, but expect the boys up front to bring some much needed intensity. If Penn State can contain Purdue’s below average rushing attack, this game should be in the bag early. As for the Purdue pass game, Jordan Lucas could potentially have a field day if they try to pick on him.
This game cannot slip through the cracks and these guys know it, so expect there to be a little extra fire on the field this weekend.
Penn State 41, Purdue 10
Ah, the yearly reminder that Purdue has a football team. Purdue is 1-8 on the year, with its only win being a close 20-14 victory against the mighty Indiana State Sycamores back in September. To put it gently, Penn State should have no problem destroying the Boilermakers this Saturday.
Offensively, Penn State should be able to beat up on one of the FBS’s worst defenses. Purdue gives up on average 37.2 points per game, and I fully expect Penn State to reach that number on Saturday. Allen Robinson should have no issue gaining 100 yards receiving,and I wouldn’t be surprised if both Zwinak and Belton rushed for 100 yards each.
Defensively, Penn State should be able to shut down an atrocious Purdue offense. The Boilermakers average just 11.8 points per game, so this will be a nice chance for the defense to get back on track after a few rough weeks.
Penn State 45, Purdue 14
Purdue is not a good team. Not in the same way Illinois isn’t a good team, but on an Eastern Michigan level. The Boilermakers’ one win is against an FCS team and Purdue has been getting consistently blown out since that win. While Penn State hasn’t exactly been great of late, the team plays well at home and it hasn’t been nearly as bad as Purdue. This should be the rebound game the Nittany Lions need.
I see Penn State starting a bit slowly but eventually getting into a rhythm and dominating a very weak Purdue. The points will flow and the Allen Robinson catches will be plentiful. While this may not be the best game, it should be an easy, much-needed win for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State 38, Purdue 6
Penn State will get its seventh consecutive win over Purdue on Saturday. This will be the second game this season in which Nittany Lion defense doesn’t allow a touchdown. The defense should have no problem getting to the quarterback, recording a season-high on sacks against an offensive line that has allowed 28 sacks through nine games.
Penn State’s offense should thrive against a weak Purdue defense. Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton should easily combine for over 200 yards, while Christian Hackenberg should throw for nearly 250 yards with most of those yards, including a touchdown or two, going to Allen Robinson.