What you need to know: Penn State V. Purdue

Each week, we’ll tell you what to expect, what to keep an eye on, and when and where you can catch the Nittany Lions on fall Saturdays this season.


Need-To-Know Details: Noon kickoff, broadcast on ABC, with ESPN2 mirror.


Records: No. 24 Penn State (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) at Purdue (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten).


Venue: Ross-Ade Stadium.


Weather Forecast (via AccuWeather): High of 62 degrees, with a shower in the afternoon.


The Overview: Purdue essentially gave up on its season a few weeks ago, when they fired then-head coach Darrell Hazel. Conversely, Penn State has won three consecutive Big Ten games and is ranked for the first time since the 2011 season. The Nittany Lions will be favored in each of their final five games, so even though they just pulled off an epic upset at home over No. 2 Ohio State, the Lions now enter a critical five-game stretch — critical in the sense that they can surpass all expectations and play in an upper-tier bowl game.


The Line: Penn State –11.5


All-Time Series: Penn State leads 13-3-1.


Last Time They Met (2013): Penn State claimed a 45-21 victory at Beaver Stadium.


Penn State Wins If: Trace McSorley and the offense manage at least an average performance. Purdue has given up an average of 39 points per game in its four Big Ten contests, so it’s difficult to imagine the Boilermakers keeping up with Joe Moorhead’s system that routinely has the Nittany Lions scoring 30-plus points. Chances are Penn State won’t need to score that many to win, though breaking the 30-point mark should guarantee a victory.


Purdue Wins If: The Boilermakers play a perfect game. And get lucky.


Count On: A lackluster crowd.


Keep An Eye On: How Penn State handles success. Penn State’s been an underdog in three of its last four games, including twice at home. Now that the Lions should be favored in every game the rest of the regular season, how do they switch gears and play from ahead?

Photo by Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

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