football

Matchup Preview: Purdue-Penn State

GoldandBlack.com breaks down how Purdue and Penn State might match up Saturday, when the Nittany Lions visit Ross-Ade Stadium.
Led by DT Jordan HillClick When Purdue's running ...Here to view this Link. and outstanding linebackers Michael MautiClick When Purdue's running ...Here to view this Link. and Gerald HodgesClick When Purdue's running ...Here to view this Link., Penn State brings the best defensive front seven since Notre Dame. The Boilermakers ran the ball effectively at Minnesota, though the score dictated that Purdue pass more than it might have otherwise against such a matchup. This weekend, the opponent is far more daunting at the line of scrimmage.
Advantage: Penn State (slight)
When Purdue's passing ...
Robert Marve gets the start, but he's been most effective lately in comeback mode. How will Purdue ask him to operate in a 0-0 game? We'll see. Either way, he will need help, because Penn State's pass rush is fierce and the Boilermaker receivers haven't exactly been operating at the top of their games the past few weeks.
Advantage: Penn State (slight)
When Penn State is running ...
Penn State's offense is a passing-oriented one, so straight-up, the Lion running game shouldn't be anything Purdue can't stand up to. But if its passing game is clicking, it will be a challenge for the Boilermakers to stay on balance and cover all its bases adequately.
Advantage: Purdue (slight)
Purdue has struggled profoundly against the pass, never worse than last week, when it was inexplicably torched by Minnesota's play-action passing game. In Penn State, the Boilermakers face the Big Ten's most advanced passing game, guided by its best passing quarterback in Matt McGloinClick When Penn State is passing ...Here to view this Link., the league's most productive receiver in Allen RobinsonClick When Penn State is passing ...Here to view this Link. and a pair of dangerous tight ends. The Boilermakers simply must pressure McGloin. With a banged-up D-line, we'll see if it can. When Purdue's defense has been good this season it's generated turnovers. Penn State barely turns it over.
Advantage: Penn State (decided)
Special teams
Penn State's kicking game has been its glaring deficiency this season, as it's just 5-of-12 kicking field goals and last in the Big Ten in punting. The defense must be able to get stops, though, to exploit it.
Advantage: Purdue (slight)
Intangibles
Purdue is reeling and Penn State has been one of the Big Ten's hottest teams in conference play. … If it comes down to turnovers, Purdue may be in trouble. Penn State barely turns it over; Purdue throws too many interceptions, sometimes costly ones. But if it comes down to the kicking game, Penn State might be in trouble. … The one X-factor might be Marve. What impact does he have on the offense from the opening kick, if any? He will need help, obviously. … How healthy are Kawann Short and Ricardo Allen for Purdue's defense? It kind of needs them.
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