It has been a crazy week with the recent storm working through the region, so apologies for some lapses in coverage this week. But fear not, we have assembled our weekly staff picks to give you a sense on where we stand on this weekend's game, which sees Penn State traveling to Purdue for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.
Penn State looks to rebound this weekend on the road against a Purdue team that has been a bit of a disappointment this season. Can the Boilermakers find a way to put together their best game of the season since dropping a tight one at Notre Dame and hand Penn State a second straight Big Ten loss, or will the Nittany Lions bounce back and remain in the hunt for a Big Ten Leaders Division championship?
Our staff likes Penn State's chances again this week.
Marty Valania: Forget X's and O's. This week is all about the head for both teams.
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I admit it, this game worries me. It worried me when Purdue had high hopes to start the year. It worried me when they could’ve won at Notre Dame. It now worries me because the Boilermakers seem to be in disarray and their coach seems to be on a thin lifeline. If any team has been backed into a corner, it’s Purdue this week. I’m worried that the Boilers will be sky high and play their best game of the year. I’m worried that Penn State put a lot of emotional energy into Ohio State. The following week is always difficult.
On the other hand, if the Nittany Lions want to have a good season, they absolutely need to win this week. Nebraska is up next and Wisconsin still looms. It’s very possible to still post an 8 or 9-win season – but not if they stumble this week.
I have bought into Bill O’Brien’s theory that there are now just four opportunities left for these football players this season and they need to cherish every one of them. It seems as if they have bought into them as well.
I also have watched this team play extremely well in its last two conference road games at Illinois and at Iowa.
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While still a little worried, I’m guessing O’Brien’s message resonates more with his team than Danny Hope’s does with his.
Penn State 28, Purdue 17.
Derek Aschman: Penn State has played well on the road this season, so I predict that continues. The defense forces two turnovers while the offense manages the game. Purdue does not have the personnel to stop Carter and Robinson and McGloin connects with each of them for a touchdown. Purdue scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter for cosmetic purposes.
Penn State: 31 Purdue: 17.
Ryan Murphy: Under the last regime, any road game was scary event, Halloween week or not. O'Brien's club has done well the last two times on the road, which matters because PSU is the slightly better team here. My only worry is if the Ohio State loss was too deflating for the team. I'm not going blow out this week (ouch, did I blow my Buckeye prediction or what?), but I'll say 30-21 Penn State. The running game gets moving again, and McGloin rebounds now that he's back in the underdog role.
Penn State 30, Purdue 21
Michael Renahan: With rumors circulating about the job security of Purdue’s head coach Danny Hope, it might not be the best time for his Boilermakers to welcome Penn State into Ross-Ade Stadium. Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak need to get back on track after struggling against Ohio State for the offense to have success.. The balanced attack the Nittany Lions have had on offense the last few weeks is what made them a very effective unit and propelled their 5 game winning streak. They need to get back to the fundamentals we witnessed over the last month and a half. The defense should have a solid day with a new starting quarterback under center this week. Purdue’s rushing attack is not a major threat, so I expect a lot of aggressive play calling from Ted Roof to throw off the already feeble offense. After a loss, Bill O’Brien and his team will make the necessary adjustments and should have success against the Boilermakers.
I expect a Penn State win 28-14.
Kevin McGuire: The biggest question I have about this weekend's game is how does Penn State rebound from what was a physically draining and emotionally draining game last weekend at home? There was a massive buzz surrounding last weekend's game against Ohio State and it seems some of that adrenaline may have gone a little too far at times. Now Penn State needs to regroup and take on a Purdue team that is about as desperate as any team left on the schedule.
Fortunately for Penn State the team has leadership that will not allow for much of a hangover, and the defense should be able to do some good things against Purdue this weekend. I have a good feeling Penn State's defense will once again be able to lead the way by shutting down a struggling Purdue offensive unit, and Penn State's offense should be able to have a better start this week than they did against a feisty Ohio State defense.
Penn State 24, Purdue 17
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