27 October 2006

Penn State vs. Purdue

Here we go again. Penn State travels into Purdue on Saturday for a noon start in a game which they are favored by 3. It's a game the Nittany Lions should win, but you never know given the recently anemic offense and inconsistent offensive line play.

If there is any time for the Penn State offense to wake up, this is the week. Purdue has the statistically worst defense in the Big Ten, giving up 416.1 yards per game and are 10th in the Big Ten giving up 28.9 points per game (Penn State is 5th giving up 18.9 points per game).

On the flip side, Purdue racks up 448.5 yards per game (tops in the Big Ten) and 29.4 points per game. They are a pass-first team, leading the conference in passing yards but second to last (only to Indiana) in rushing yards.

I see three keys to this game: first, can the Nittany Lion offense wake up and move the ball freely on Purdue's porous defense; second, can Penn State's defense shut down or at least slow Purdue's air attack; and third, will special teams be a difference maker for the Nittany Lions as they were against Illinois.

This is the perfect week to re-establish solid offensive line play and let Tony Hunt pound the ball. This is also a good opportunity to open up the offense again, throwing the screens, long balls, and for once, perhaps throw the ball down the middle of the field!

If the Nittany Lions can achieve at least two of these three keys, Penn State should win the game. Knowing how capable Penn State really is, this game should not really be close. But it's an away game, too. So that does play a role. It might be closer than it should be, but the Nittany Lions ought to pull this one out. With or without the offense, the Penn State defense will be the difference: Penn State 27, Purdue 17.
Post a Comment