Penn State Holds off Purdue, Prepare for Saturday Night Cat Fight with Northwestern
The Nittany Lions never trailed in Saturday’s contest, but they were unable to put Purdue away despite forcing three turnovers and dominating possession. Penn State kept the ball on the ground the majority of the game, running the ball 48 times for 182 yards. Silas Redd delivered his third straight 100 yard performance, toting the rock 28 times for 131 yards and a nine yard touchdown scamper. This was also the third straight week that Redd had received 28 rushes or more. Penn State was without leading receiver Derek Moye against Purdue, with Moye suffering a broken foot after falling down some steps last week. His absence was evident in the passing game as the aerial attack was once again uninspiring, with McGloin and Bolden combining to go 10 for 23 with 185 yards and one interception. Justin Brown was the leading receiver catching four passes for 86 yards and was the only Nittany Lion to catch more than two passes. Brown figures to be the top receiving weapon for Penn State once again against Northwestern with Moye already ruled out for at least another week. The defensive hero of the game was Nathan Stupar who recorded seven tackles and had two of the team’s three interceptions. His second pick came on Purdue’s final possession of the game with 2:36 remaining and wrapped up the victory for the Nittany Lions.
There has been plenty of criticism directed at the Penn State coaching staff this season (my own included), but to be sitting at a 6-1 record is as good as even any optimistic fan could have even hoped for when the season began. The Nittany Lions will be favored in both of the next two games before the bye week and could very well be 8-1 leading into the murderer’s row three game stretch to end the season. Penn State came out slugglish against Northwestern last season as they fell down 21-0 before rallying to a 35-21 win at Beaver Stadium, but they can ill afford to do the same on Saturday in what will be a night game on the road. The Wildcats have dropped four in a row including all three of their Big Ten contests, but senior Dan Persa is one of the best quarterbacks in the conference and will certainly be able to get his team motivated for a chance to pull off a big upset against Paterno’s lions.