28 October 2006

Final: Penn State 12, Purdue 0

My prediction: Penn State 27, Purdue 17
Final score: Penn State 12, Purdue 0

A stiff wind and a short kickoff gave Purdue excellent field position to open the second half, but the Nittany Lion defense held the Boilermakers to a three and out. The Purdue punt was downed on the Penn State five yard line, but the Nittany Lions went right back to the running game and Tony Hunt. Hunt also made a nice catch and run on third and 8 to get an important first down to continue the drive. Penn State was ultimately forced to punt, but again took a considerable amount of time off the clock and altered the battle for field position.

For large chunks of the second half, Penn State played conservative and exploited the Purdue defense's inability to stop the run. The Nittany Lions totalled 237 rushing hards, including 140 from Tony Hunt. The strong running game ensured that time of possession would be in the Nittany Lions' favor all day: 35:22 to 24:38. Hunt also converted a third down on a nice 37 yard shovel pass from Morelli.

Penn State was a very respectable 10 for 19 on third down conversions.

The defense was very strong as expected. Despite averaging over 300 passing yards per game (good for fourth in the nation), Purdue had only 176 passing yards (and only 53 more on the ground). Anthony Scirrotto also picked off his third pass in two weeks for his Big Ten-leading fifth interception. What was unexpected was shutting out a team averaging almost 30 points a game. It was the first time Purdue has been shut out in ten years.

Despite the win, there were still some areas for improvement. On the Nittany Lions first three drives of 12 plays or more, Penn State scored only 3 points. Anthony Morelli was only 14 of 31 for 182 yards. Penn State also lost a fumble in the red zone.

Overall, a nice game from the Nittany Lions. Game balls to the defense as a whole for solid performance and to Tony Hunt for carrying the offense on his shoulders once again.
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