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Penn State Football: Previewing The Opponent: Purdue

by on October 28, 2016 2:00 PM

Penn State football heads to Indiana this weekend to face Purdue in a follow up game to one of the biggest wins in program history. More functionally at 5-2 Penn State looks to exit the weekend once again bowl eligible and another week among the ranked as the Nittany Lions sit No. 24 in the nation.

While the Boilermakers don't pose quite the same sort of challenge on paper as the Buckeyes did just seven days prior, it isn't wise to take any opponent lightly as Penn State has so often proven in the past several years. Here is what you need to know about Purdue, who is 3-13-1 all-time against Penn State.

Last Week: 

Purdue gave No. 8 Nebraska a run for its money last week on the road before eventually falling 27-14 on the road. The loss follows up a 49-35 loss to Iowa at home and a 34-31 overtime to win to Illinois on the road. Purdue's season started out decently at 2-1 but the Boilermakers haven't had much stability since. This weekend is the first home game for interim head coach Gerad Parker who replaced Darrell Hazell on Oct. 16 after Hazell was relieved of his duties.

The Offense:

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David Blough is just about all the offense Purdue can muster but his 2065 yards and 14 touchdowns are backed up by 11 interceptions to go with it. Slough isn't bad, but he's inconsistent and the Boilermakers only have so much firepower behind him not to mention that Blough's completions are largely of the short yardage variety.

Markell Jones averages 4.4 yards a carry with 408 yards on the season and just two scores. DeAngelo Yancey is Purdue's most consistent down the field  threat averaging 17.5 yards a catch with 28 on the year and five scores at receiver. Purdue averages 25.6 points a game, just four shy of Penn State's own average.

The Defense:

This is where it gets tricky for Purdue. The Boiklkermakers are giving up 441 yards of offense per game and 33.3 points per contest to their opponents as well. Maryland rushed for 400 yards against Purdue in the blowout victory and the Boilermaker defense hasn't done much to slow anyone down who wants to run the ball. And as always running opens up the pass which ought to mean Penn State could have quite the day with Joe Moorhead's read-pass-option packages.

Linebacker Markus Bailey is Purdue's most consistent defensive presence with 49 tackles on the year, 27 solo and an interception to his name. Other than that it has been a difficult go for the Boilermaker defense.

The Player To Watch:

Blough isn't the most explosive quarterback in college football but he has shown the ability to move the ball when he can avoid turnovers. If Purdue is going to have a chance in this game it will mean the Boilermaker defense slows down Saquon Barkley and that Blough manages to avoid turning the ball over more than once.

The Prediction:

This is a trap game for Penn State but the Nittany Lions are too good in the right areas to let the trap hold them back for the entire contest. Don't be surprised if the Nittany Lions start slow, but a healthy defense, the momentum of the Ohio State win and Saquon Barkley ought to be enough to win this game even if it's the exact opposite of last weekend's upset atmosphere. 35-17 Penn State.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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