Game Preview: Penn State vs. Purdue

Audio/Story posted October 4, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Zach Donaldson

Host Matt Noah, Dale Ostrander and Grant Commerer discuss Penn State's homecoming matchup against Purdue. 

This Saturday, No. 12 Penn State returns home to Beaver Stadium to take on Purdue in a homecoming showdown.

The Nittany Lions (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) look to keep their undefeated season alive, while the Purdue Boilermakers (1-3, 0-1 Big Ten) are trying to manufacture a win in any way possible as their season begins to slip away.

In last Saturday’s 38-31 loss to Minnesota, Purdue suffered more losses than just the one in the loss column. Quarterback Elijah Sindelar and star wide-receiver Rondale Moore were both injured on the same play in the first half. This adds to an already previously injury-riddled Boilermakers squad.

Sindelar is out indefinitely with a broken collarbone and Moore is likely to be out for an extended period of time with a leg injury. It’s very unfortunate, but Purdue being without their two most important offensive players is certainly a significant advantage for the Nittany Lions.

With Sindelar out, redshirt freshman Jack Plummer will be under center for the Boilermakers. He has only seen game action twice in his career. While Sindelar was out with a concussion in week three, Plummer got the start versus Texas Christian University and completed 13-of-29 passes, for 181 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

When Sindelar left the game versus Minnesota, Plummer came in and connected on 23-of-41 passes for 245 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. If Purdue wants any sort of chance in this one, Plummer is going to have to show up and show out.

Penn State’s defense is allowing just a little over 1.8 yards per rush this season. Purdue has only managed 273 rushing yards through four games, which ranks second to last in all of the FBS. If both of those trends continue, Purdue isn’t going to have any success on the ground. This will force a young, inexperienced quarterback – who has thrown four interceptions in roughly 1 ½ games – into too many third-and-long situations. If Penn State’s secondary can stand their ground, the defense could have themselves another totally overpowering performance.

This season, Penn State’s defense is allowing an average of 7.5 points per game, which ranks second best in the country. Facing a desperate, depleted Purdue team, it’s hard to find a way that the Boilermakers will score points against such a deep, dominant unit.

There were many questions surrounding Penn State coming off the bye heading into Friday’s contest with Maryland – particularly on offense. However, after a 59-0 beatdown of the Terrapins, most of that chatter seems to have been put to rest.

Sean Clifford looks to have taken some major strides. In the game versus Maryland, Clifford was making the correct reads, throwing accurate balls, trusting his playmakers, using his feet, etc. T

he play-calling and execution on all accounts was fantastic, too. Everyone was getting involved – 13 different Nittany Lions caught passes from Clifford. Right now, the offense ranks fifth in scoring offense in the entire country and is first overall in red-zone offense. Even as the competition increases, expect this young, developing group to keep trending upwards.

The young Penn State offense should continue to take strides this week, while the defense takes care of business and the Nittany Lions ought to handle the Boilermakers fairly easily on homecoming this Saturday afternoon.

Prediction: Penn State 45, Purdue 0

 

 

Zach Donaldson is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zach.donaldson1@gmail.com.