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Staff Predictions: Penn State vs. Purdue

It’s been 242 days since there was a real Penn State football game. We’re almost back, ladies and gentlemen.

Playmakers like Sean Clifford and Parker Washington are returning, while younger players like Tyler Elsdon are attempting to put themselves on the map. After a disappointing 7-6 season, characterized by injuries and a snowballing collapse, the Nittany Lions must win their opening game to quickly switch momentum.

Despite Vegas considering them underdogs, Purdue is hardly a team to take lightly. The Boilermakers are coming off a 9-4 season with a bowl victory against Tennessee. However, most of our staffers remain confident Penn State will survive the Black Out conditions and emerge victorious.

Nolan Wick (0-0): Penn State 35, Purdue 14

Penn State has won the last nine matchups against Purdue and outscored the Boilermakers 290-119 in that span. That, along with numerous other factors, is why I expect Penn State to surprise Thursday’s nationally televised audience and cruise to victory in West Lafayette. Penn State will be fired up to prove critics wrong, and it has the talent and depth to do so against a depth-depleted Purdue team.

Devon Craley (0-0): Penn State 24, Purdue 20

From the moment this game was announced, I never felt comfortable picking Penn State, and I sit here writing this with the same uneasy feeling. This is the pure definition of a trap game. Purdue is notorious for ruining superior teams’ seasons, and it has the perfect opportunity to do so Thursday night. Penn State, in recent years, has always been susceptible to a letdown game, especially on the road and to an inferior opponent. This game has all the makings of a rough start to the season.

With all that being said, I’m actually going to pick Penn State to pull out the win in West Lafayette. I predict that Purdue will flirt with another upset victory but in the end, I expect the better team to prevail with what will probably be an ugly win, but a win nonetheless. Penn State’s defense shuts the door on a late-game drive by the Boilermakers to secure the 24-20 victory.

Matt Brown (0-0): Penn State 34, Purdue 20

Starting the season on the road once again, at night in West Lafayette, is no fun. However, Penn State seems to know how to handle Purdue as of late, winning its last nine matchups over the Boilermakers. I think that trend will continue this year, as the Nittany Lions will win their first game of the season. Sean Clifford and Parker Washington are two of the biggest keys to this team succeeding this season, and Thursday night will show how important they really are.

On the defensive side, the return of PJ Mustipher and a fantastic secondary led by Joey Porter Jr. and Ji’Ayir Brown will keep Purdue from making this game interesting, giving Penn State the win.

Adam Babetski (0-0): Purdue 31, Penn State 24

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but Penn State might be in for a nasty surprise at Ross-Ade Stadium. The Boilermakers were quietly a top 25 team at points last season, finishing with a 9-4 record. It’s not going to be a walk in the park to beat them. While Penn State survived against a tough opponent on the road to open last season, I think it’ll come up short here.

Mikey DeAngelis (0-0): Penn State 28, Purdue 23

Every bone in my body is telling me that Penn State is going to lose this game, but I’m picking with my mind, not my gut. On paper, the Nittany Lions should be the better team, and I think they’ll pull out a win on the road to start the season, although I think it’ll be a nail-biter either way.

Sam Fremin (0-0): Penn State 30, Purdue 16

This goes one of two ways — either Penn State gets out to a hot start and Ross-Ade Stadium’s Black Out starts showing spots of silver, or the first half is painfully boring and the Nittany Lions are jolted by their ineffectiveness. Neither ends in a Purdue victory.

As far as I can tell, the Boilermakers have not done a convincing job of replacing their star playmaker David Bell. Last season, Bell had 1,286 receiving yards, the next closest was Milton Wright who had nearly 500 fewer yards… and was ruled academically ineligible for this season. While the Nittany Lions have obvious concerns, their roster has too strong an advantage to fall flat this early.

Frankie Marzano (0-0): Penn State 28, Purdue 23

I’m going to drink the Kool Aid here, and I’m fully willing to admit that. My prediction isn’t based on analytics, nor is it based on fact. It’s based on something much stronger than both of those things: hope.

For me, the biggest question is Penn State’s defense heading into the season, and I have no clue what to expect. Manny Diaz’s secondary will need to shut down Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell and the Boilermakers’ pass attack. But, I have faith that Joey Porter Jr. and Ji’Ayir Brown will ball out as usual, and Kalen King will live up to the hype heading into this game. Give me Penn State against the spread. We move.

Ryan Parsons (0-0): Penn State 27, Purdue 17

Let’s not think too hard about this. Penn State has the better roster, coaching staff, and, quite frankly, program on paper. Purdue is relying too much on the addition of transfer talent this early, and the Nittany Lions will cruise to an easy victory thanks to a deeper, more battle-tested squad. I expect the defense to be just as lights out as it was last year. Yes, the road environment will be tough, but Sean Clifford & Co. have been here before. I’m calling a big first game from Adisa Isaac and a Kaytron Allen breakaway score.

Gabe Angieri (0-0): Penn State 30, Purdue 17

While there are many questions I have about this Penn State team, I don’t think the lack of answers will come into play just yet. The Nittany Lions are simply the better team, in my opinion, and it’ll show Thursday night at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Parker Washington and Theo Johnson will score a touchdown apiece, while true freshman running back Nick Singleton will find the end zone, too, in his first career game as a Nittany Lion. On the defensive side of the ball, Penn State will come up with two turnovers — a Ji’Ayir Brown interception and an Adisa Isaac strip sick.

The Nittany Lions are coming home next week truly #1-0, folks.

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