Nittany Lion Turnaround: Going into Week 7

 

The Iowa demons have been exercised.  This weekend Purdue comes to Happy Valley for Homecoming.  Last year PSU's Homecoming was Illinois' first-ever win in Beaver Stadium, will Purdue have the same good fortune?

Last Week: Penn State 13 - Iowa 3

I don't know if I was quite this ecstatic (waitress at the GMan may have had a different opinion), but I know I love Ace Ventura.

Generally:

If they had played the game ten times, Penn State would have won...

...seven or eight times.  Penn State's defense dominated this Iowa team and what they didn't do the drops by Iowa's WR managed to cover.  Penn State blitzed their linebackers more than any time in recent memory, and it worked out as an ideal crutch for the sub-par DE rush we've had this season.  Even though Penn State's red zone woes continued, now they seem to just be red zone, and not whole-offense, woes.  PSU seems to be able to put together long drives and if they can just tighten it up near the end zone they could be scoring enough touchdowns to be a contender (for second place) in the Leaders division.

Gameday-penn-state-iowa-1_medium

PSU student body: 100% more East Coast than your Big Ten student body.

 

This Week:  Purdue @ Penn State, 12:00 p.m.

The Nittany Lions and the Boilermakers will meet on the field tomorrow after having rotated off the schedule for the past two years.  The last time they met was in 2008, where Penn State's high-flying "Spread HD" offense had a lackluster day scoring only 20 against Purdue in a noon sleepwalk.  

Saturday is also PSU's Homecoming.  Last year, Penn State's Homecoming opponent was the Illinois Fightining Illini, a team that had never won in Beaver Stadium.  The Illini came in and pretty much butchered Penn State, clearly demonstrating that the 2010 PSU squad was not going to be living up to any hype. 

There's no particular hatred between these two fanbases, but Purdue has given Penn State a good fight over the years.  Until I see otherwise, a game against Purdue seems to always be groan-inducing, medium-anxiety affair, but ultimately a win.  There's a not-PC joke somewhere in there but I'll leave that up to the Comments section.

 

If Penn State beats Purdue, it will be like...

359732-drink_alcohol_lunch_break_work_medium

Picture: Completely random.  I would imagine these dudes are French if they are hanging out with red wine at lunch.  But the fact remains: drinks at lunch during work.

...having a drink at lunch on a workday.  It's drinking, so it's fun.  There is a fleeting moment of liberation and mild euphoria.  But before you can really enjoy it you realize how limited your time is, and then, f, you have to get back to work and do something productive.  A Penn State win over Purdue is pretty much the same thing.  Relish it for a brief moment, then you realize that it's Purdue and, yeah, it's another W but it doesn't really give you any lasting satisfaction.  The real W's are still out there, and a win over Purdue doesn't really make them all that much more likely.

If Penn State loses to Purdue, it will be like...

Angry-mob2-300x255_medium

 

...a cartoon version of townsfolk with pitchforks and torches.  The Penn State coaching staff has walked a very delicate line this season, and it's not rotating in the right QB at the right time: it's managing to get to 5-1, including an ever-elusive Iowa win, and build up a remarkably small amount of good will with the fanbase.

So if Penn State were to come out slow, throw some picks, and not be able to manage a late-game rally... yeah, you'd have the internet-masses calling for Joe's head (probably will happen with a close win anyway), but it would be a bit of a farce.  Joe Paterno is leading this program as long as he wants.  How he 'feels" is the only thing that will dictate when he steps down.  Winning or losing against Purdue on October 15, 2011 will probably have a slim-to-none chance of affecting how he "feels."  The comments after a loss to Purdue would be colorful and exaggerated, but have little to no bearing on the real world: cartoon pitchforks and torches.

 

My Prediction:

Penn State 20, Purdue 6

The same score as the Big Ten-winning, high-flying offense of the 2008 PSU squad vs. Purdue.  The two quarterback system remains in effect.  You could say the noon start remains in effect.  And, of course, PSU's #1 receiving option is out.  

Penn State hasn't exactly thrashed the Boilermakers in recent memory, and I don't expect it to start this week.  I'm not trying to be gloomy about this team, but they haven't put up over 16 points against a team even remotely on their level, so I don't see how people can predict that they will break 20 points tomorrow.  I do think that if we give McGloin enough snaps he can get in a groove and begin to do his thing against a pretty weak defense and break this 16-point ceiling-of-sorts.

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