Penn State comes out on the road against what should be a sold out Ross-Ade Stadium and takes a few lumps before the team settles in a bit. After falling behind in the first quarter, the Lions right the ship and the improved offense begins to carry its weight. Sean Clifford is fully healthy, and the run game actually contributes, with Nick Singleton making his collegiate debut. The game is always tight, but PSU has enough in the tank to get the season-opening win.
Penn State 38, Purdue 35
A tricky Thursday night on the road against a wildcard Boilermaker squad is a recipe for a nervous Lando. The good guys take at least the first quarter and potentially most of the first half to work through most of the offensive stumbling blocks. Keyvone Lee and Nick Singleton combine to rush for over 100 yards (doesn’t sound impressive until you remember the offensive line’s woes in 2021), and Sean Clifford throws two touchdowns and only commits one turnover. Defensively, either Joey Porter or Tig Brown force a takeaway and Curtis Jacobs proves his leadership status in the linebacking corps.
Penn State 31, Purdue 24
Opening up the season on the road, on a Thursday night, against a conference opponent, and in front of a blackout crowd, Penn State football is back! This will not be an easy game for the Nittany Lions. It should be a rocking atmosphere at Ross-Aide Stadium and Purdue has one of the best passing attacks in the Big Ten. That said, arguably the two biggest strengths for the Nittany Lions this season will be their pass rush and secondary, making the Boilermakers a good matchup. Having a healthy Sean Clifford in the same offense in back-to-back seasons for the first time in his career is a big positive as well. This game will be close for two and half or three quarters, but the talent gap wins out in the end as the Nittany Lions are able to pull away in the fourth quarter.
Penn State 34, Purdue 21
Silly Thursday night game - only the second Penn State/Purdue matchup at Ross-Ade I’ve ever missed (1999 was the other). So, like most of you, I’ll be watching from the couch. Here’s what I expect: sloppiness from both sides caused by nerves, a lot of back and forth early, and a few plays that will leave us all shaking our heads. But, I also expect Penn State’s overall talent edge to win out in the end. Purdue lost its gamechanger on offense and its gamewrecker on defense. I think Penn State has a couple of those emerge on Thursday night - namely Chop Robinson and Nick Singleton.
Penn State 34, Purdue 27
I’ve probably said this eleventy-billion times this offseason, but while this won’t be as daunting a road opener as playing at Wisconsin was a year ago, this will still be a difficult opener against a Purdue team that also returns a 6th-year QB and will have a rowdy “Black Out” crowd on national TV ready to make some noise. What Purdue doesn’t have though, are their biggest studs on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Furthermore, Purdue’s biggest strength offensively (passing) plays right into PSU’s biggest strength defensively (secondary).
That being said, anticipate a tight one through three quarters, but PSU’s talent and depth advantages, particularly on that defensive unit will begin to take over. Don’t be surprised if Nick Singleton takes one to the house and introduces himself to the rest of the country, as well.
Penn State 35, Purdue 24
I actually think Purdue and Penn State are very similar as far as storylines heading into the season. Offenses with veterans at quarterback whose biggest question mark is if the offensive line can provide much of a ground game. Meanwhile, the defenses obviously have production to be replace, but appear to be in solid places. So who gets the edge? Purdue having this game in Ross-Ade Stadium is a major benefit, as evidenced by Jeff Brohm’s top-five wins during his tenure. But Penn State’s talent edge can’t be questioned; specifically along the defensive line. PJ Mustipher was a Top 100 prospect. Adisa Isaac was a Top 100 prospect. Chop Robinson was a Top 50 prospect. Dani Dennis-Sutton was a five-star prospect. Nick Tarburton, Zane Durant, Hakeem Beamon, Coziah Izzard, and DVon Ellies were all four-star prospects. I mean, the disparity in “dudes” is leaning heavily toward Penn State.
Because of that, I’m putting my faith in Penn State pulling away late. Please.
Penn State 31, Purdue 20
(Originally appearing in the Game Preview)
The Boilermakers are coming into the season with plenty of momentum. While Penn State ended the season with a thud, Purdue went 5-1 in the homestretch with the loss at Ohio State. They also had upsets against the #3 and #4 teams in 2021, breathing new life into the program. And while the bowl games are not what they used to be, the Boilermakers ended the season on a huge high note with an overtime thriller against Tennesee, in a game that was obviously very meaningful to them.
This is a new season, however. Penn State can put all of its problems that led to a late-season collapse behind them. They’re healthy, they’re talented, they have strong leadership, including two four-time captains. I just don’t know if I can trust the offense finding the consistency, especially if the offensive line doesn’t take a massive leap forward - something we’ve been promised for years.
The teams looks very similar on paper - both return experienced quarterbacks, both attempting to transform a poor ground game, both looking to replace playmakers on defense. This should play out as much on the field, but the thing that frightens me is Purdue being able to pick on the young linebacker crew. This could keep drives alive to help the Boilermakers produce points late in the game, as well as keeping the ball out of Clifford’s hands to quash the chance of any fourt quarter heroics. Add the night time atmosphere with a hyped-up crowd, and the slight edge seems to be with Purdue.
Let’s hope they prove me wrong.
Purdue 31, Penn State 28