Penn State/Purdue Game Notes
After a loss at the hands of the Ohio State Buckeyes in Happy Valley last weekend, the Penn State Nittany Lions look to get back on track against Purdue this week. The Boilermakers are coming off a 44-28 loss to Minnesota in Minneapolis this past Saturday.
Penn State comes into the game with a 5-3 (3-1 Big Ten) record. The Nittany Lions are currently one of four teams in the conference that averages more than 400 yards of offense per game and they rank second in conference with 265.9 passing yards/game. These numbers stem from coach Bill O’Brien’s spread offense that accounts for more yards through the air.
Perhaps the biggest fan of the offense is Penn State’s senior quarterback Matt McGloin, who currently posts a 16:3 touchdown/interception ratio (a vast improvement over an 8:5 ratio last season). McGloin also boasts a 62.2 completion percentage while accumulating over 2,000 passing yards through eight games.
McGloin hopes to have a better showing against Purdue in 2012 after only completing eight passes with no touchdowns and one interception in last year’s meeting. He will also hope to have a more accurate arm this week after throwing his third interception of the season to Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier last Saturday. Shazier returned the interception for a touchdown, which gave the Buckeyes the 14-7 lead in the third quarter.
McGloin will have a pair of weapons on offense this time around against the Boilermakers in sophomore wide receiver Allen Robinson and freshman tight end Kyle Carter. This season, Robinson has put up 631 receiving yards (2nd in the Big Ten) and eight touchdowns (most among receivers in the Big Ten) while Carter has made an impact, registering 35 catches for 441 receiving yards (9th in the Big Ten).
On the flip side, Penn State’s defense looks as tough as ever being led by senior linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges. The two are coming off powerful performances against Ohio State, accumulating a combined 27 tackles and a sack against Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes. Mauti also has three interceptions on the season and ranks first in the conference with 125 interception-return yards.
The Nittany Lions defense also possesses a solid defensive line, anchored by senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who has 2.5 sacks this season. Hill and junior defensive tackles DaQuan Jones are bookended by a talented group of defensive ends Deion Barnes and Anthony Zettel, who each have three sacks on the year. Together, they will attempt to penetrate a Purdue offensive line that has given up ten sacks through eight games.
The man behind Purdue’s offensive line is senior quarterback Robert Marve. Marve will start in place of Caleb TerBush, who was benched by Danny Hope after a five- completion performance against Minnesota last Saturday.
This will be Marve’s first start since the season opener against Eastern Kentucky, when TerBush was suspended. In that game, Marve went 30/38 with 295 yards passing and three touchdowns. Despite these solid numbers, Marve could have his hands full against a Nittany Lions defense that ranks 18th overall in the FBS with 18.1 points against this season.
The Purdue offense will have to get plenty of help for Marve in the form of senior wide receiver Antavian Edison and freshman wide receiver Dolapo Macarthy. Edison currently leads the team with 432 receiving yards and six touchdowns, while the 6’5” Macarthy has eleven catches in the last two games. Last week against the Gophers, Edison and Macarthy combined for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
Sharing the backfield with Marve will be senior running back Akeem Shavers, who leads the team with 432 rushing yards. Despite only registering three touchdowns thus far this season, Shavers averages 4.5 yards per carry on 95 carries. Shavers also has solid size at 5’11”, 203 lbs., which could be a challenge for the front seven of Penn State.
On defense, the Boilermakers have given up 29.8 points per game, a big reason why they are still winless in conference play. However, they have bright spots in the secondary in the form of sophomore safety Landon Feichter and senior corner Josh Johnson. Feichter currently leads the Big Ten with four interceptions, while Johnson is second in the Big Ten with 74 interception-return yards.
In the front seven, Purdue’s biggest threats come in the form of senior defensive tackle Kawann Short and sophomore defensive end Ryan Russell. Together, these two have combined for seven sacks this season. However, they have only combined for one sack in the last four games against Big Ten opponents. The Boilermakers will have to put pressure on Matt McGloin in order to make a defensive statement early on Saturday.
The game will air live at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in Ross-Ade Stadium in Indiana. Tune in to www.psucomradio.com for live coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. with The ComRadio Football Pregame Show.
Kevin Gallagher is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.