All the ingredients for a letdown were present in spades. Penn State was coming off an uber-hyped, emotional home loss. They were facing a very talented, yet completely sleep walking Purdue squad, at quiet-as-a-church-mouse Ross-Ade stadium. Bor-ring. Their plane had a flat tire and they got into West Lafayette late. Purdue was changing quarterbacks, to go with the guy that had actually been performing. Purdue's two best defensive players, questionable most of the week, were in fact suiting up and looked fine. Meanwhile, Penn State had to leave Kyle Carter, its second leading receiver, back in State College.
As Purdue took the opening kickoff into Penn State territory, with a Sam Ficken tackle preventing the touchdown, it looked certain the recipe was gonna get made, too. Purdue RB Akeem Shavers next broke a long run down to the Penn State 5 yard line. The hangover in full effect, this looked to be a long day. Instead, the defense held, conceding just a field goal. And then the offense rolled off 34 straight unanswered points, including a stretch of three straight touchdown drives.
Boom, roasted. Ultimately, Purdue's a squad that didn't need much of an excuse to fold, and Penn State's touchdown just before halftime, to make the score 20 - 3, was probably all that it took. But just in case, Penn State tacked on two more scores coming out of halftime, a 12-yard pass to TE Jesse James, and a 41-yard strike to WR Brandon Moseby-Felder.
Purdue actually ran 88 offensive plays, fighting to the final gun, but finished with just 375 total yards. Of those 88 plays, 26 were runs (for 87 yards), 1 was a deep pass that CB Stephon Morris broke up, and the other 61 were quick, short passes and bubble screens. Danny Hope loves him some bubble screen, even if that played to Penn State's defensive strength (after the first game), and ignored its defensive weakness. At least Danny has a cool mustache, because he probably won't be wearing his Purdue ballcap on the sidelines after this season.
Penn State next travels to Lincoln to face the surging Cornhuskers in one of the best venues in college. We won't have to worry ourselves with the letdown recipe ingredients for that one - or, apparently, any game this season. Bill O'Brien always has these guys ready to play.
Three Completely Random, Probably Useless Thoughts
1) You had quite a day, Brandon Moseby-Felder. You grabbed 6 balls for 129 yards and a touchdown. Has to feel good going off like that. The 7 catches for 66 yards you amassed in 2010 and 2011 combined should stay a distant memory. Keep moving forward.
2) If there's a better Center in the Big Ten than Matt Stankiewitch, I'd like to hear about it. He owned Illinois' Akeem Spence, and Purdue's Kawaan Short didn't have his name called all game, as Penn State ran 38 times for 185 yards. Stank didn't have his best game against the Buckeyes, and that will negatively influence the morons who vote on these things. But besides dominating most of the best DT's in the B1G, Stank's also been the leader on a unit that's far exceeded any reasonable expectations on the year, while playing with an 8-man rotation around him in a new offense with a different blocking scheme. Penn State's actually rushing for more yards per game this year - with eight new guys on the line, and four new running backs - than they did last year, with a more experienced, veteran line and proven backs. The pivot man has really stepped up this year, and should be recognized for it as First Team All-Big Ten.
3) Keep your chin up, Jordan Hill. Your knee got rolled up, and it looked ugly - but the early word is that it's just a sprain. You have the best training staff in college or pros to help you out. Penn Staters all hope you make it back as soon as possible, healthy, happy, and wrecking the middle of the line.
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