Purdue looks to get back in win column against Penn State

Written by Brett Korpi

(Photo Credit: Trevor Mahlmann / The SkyBoat)

As Purdue and Penn State enter Saturday’s inter-divisional match-up in West Lafayette, IN, the two teams are on opposite ends of the Big Ten spectrum. The Boilermakers (3-4, 1-3) are finishing out the stretch under interim head coach Gerad Parker, and are playing for the future. While the Nittany Lions (5-2,3-1) are coming off their biggest win in years with the 24-21, last minute upset over, at the time, 2nd ranked Ohio State and they find themselves in the mix for the Big Ten East championship.

Penn State holds a 13-3-1 all-time record against Purdue and has won the last seven contests. However, they have also their last seven road games, dating back to 2014. Purdue will be looking to knock off their first ranked opponent since their 2011 victory over 23rd ranked Illinois.

Purdue will be looking for sophomore quarterback David Blough to ignite their offense. He leads the Big Ten in passing with 295 yards per game. He will need to limit his mistakes though as he has thrown for 11 interceptions this season. If he is not careful with the football, the Nittany Lions defense that essentially shut down Ohio State, could force Blough into more miscues.

A player that could be the key to the game for the Boilermakers is, Markell Jones. The sophomore running back was expected to be a big part of the offense before getting injured against Cincinnati. Since returning from the shoulder injury, Jones has rushed for just 69 yards on 19 carries in two games. He will need to start meeting those earlier expectations in order for Purdue to unlock the upset.

Purdue’s defense, which is the worst in the Big Ten, allowing roughly 450 yards per game, will have its hands full with Nittany Lion quarterback Trace McSorley. The sophomore has settled in and has really started to assert himself. He’s begun to understand the read option, which really showed in the Ohio State game. McSorley ran for 66 yards and a touchdown, but his ability on the read allowed opened up the field for Big Ten leading rusher, running back Saquon Barkley, who ran for 99 yards.

If Purdue has any shot at an upset, it will need their defense to plug their holes and Blough to limit his mistakes. If those two things happen it could be an interest day in Boiler Country.

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