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Even The Nittany Lions Are A Little Disappointed Purdue Star Rondale Moore Won't Play Saturday

by on October 02, 2019 7:50 PM

As they say: Real recognize real.

And for Penn State there are mixed emotions as the Nittany Lions contemplate the absence of Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore from this weekend's game. Moore is a star, one of the best playmakers in the country and a singular force in the Boilermakers' upset win over Ohio State last season.

He has "it" and you can't help but enjoy watching him play.

But a leg injury last weekend against Minnesota will keep Moore off the field for the foreseeable future and an injury to Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar has quite literally taken the Boilermakers' season off the tracks.

This is in the broadest sense good news for a Penn State team looking to go 5-0 and fine tune things before a trip to Iowa City.

Even so there is the competitive nature of players and coaches, a desire to beat the best even if that means increasing the odds of losing in the process.

"I texted him when I found out that he was hurt, probably a day or two after," Penn State receiver KJ Hamler said after practice on Wednesday.

"Just told him that I'm praying for him because outside of the game we're all family. There are a lot of football players that you meet daily or just around the country on other teams that you become cool with. Me and him, we don't have a close bond but there is a friendship outside of football. I am disappointed, I wish he would play, it probably would have been the battle of the slots or something. I hope he's doing well and I'm praying for him."

The meeting of Hamler and Moore would have been special, a clash of players who have few equals but each other. Of all the games that happen inside a game, seeing Hamler and Moore putting their offensive skills to the test one the same field could have made for one of college football's more entertaining matchups.

Even for a Penn State team that benefits from Purdue's bad luck, there is a small regret that lingers. James Franklin and his staff will sleep just a bit better knowing Moore won't be there to give their defense fits on Saturday, but they will also sleep knowing that their defense would have been made better by going up against his size and speed.

And even a small part of them ever so disappointed not to see Moore work his magic in person.

"To be honest with you, I think our players and our staff would like for him to be playing in the game," Franklin said on Tuesday. "You know, you come to Penn State because you want to play against the best players and you want to play against the best teams. I think it's great for college football. I think it's great for us."

Of course Franklin isn't the guy who would have to help chase Moore around the field all game, but even the players that would have had the task of stopping him see it as a challenged missed, and an opportunity to be part of something entertaining. Even if it comes a bit at their own expense.

"That's a tricky question," defensive tackle Robert Windsor said of another team's best player not playing. "Like at the same time, it's like, okay, he's not playing, so that helps us. But another time, we're like, we want him to play and be able to stop him because that just shows how good we are. So it's like a double-edged sword."

At the end of the day Penn State will take an easier path to a likely victory on Saturday. The stakes are too high to wish things were harder than they already are.

But as it turns out, pretty much everyone wishes Moore was on the field.

"I don't know whether he's going to travel this week or not, but if he does," Franklin added. "I'd love the opportunity to tell him what a fantastic football player and [that I'm] a big fan."

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