PUR: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the ugly from Penn State's easy road victory over the Boilermakers in a lightly attended game at Ross-Ade Stadium.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Some wondered if Penn State would suffer a hangover following its tough 35-23 home loss to Ohio State at Beaver Stadium Oct. 27.

While the Nittany Lions did appear to be in a bit of a haze early against overmatched Purdue here Saturday, once they shook out the cobwebs they put an old-fashioned beat-down on the bumbling Boilermakers.

The final was 34-9, and it was not really that close.

Purdue had played well in close losses to Notre Dame and OSU earlier in the season. But on this day, hot-seat coach Danny Hope's crew opened with an early field goal and went straight downhill from there.

The Boilermakers remained winless in the Big Ten (0-5) and slipped to 3-6 overall. The Lions, meanwhile, are now 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the league.

State also clinched a record that in any other year would all but assure bowl eligibility.

Due to NCAA sanctions, there will be no bowl this year. So head coach Bill O'Brien and his troops have insisted they are treating every game like a must-win.

That was definitely the case here. Read on to see how things played out.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Redshirt junior receiver Brandon Moseby-Felder played his best game yet. He had four catches for 86 yards in the first half alone. He finished with a career-high six catches for 129 yards and a 42-yard touchdown. The TD was the first of his career.

CLOSE SECOND: Lion linebacker Gerald Hodges was just too athletic for the Purdue offense. The Boilers tried to work their screen game but Hodges kept blowing things up. He had eight tackles in the first half alone.

CLOSE THIRD: QB Matt McGloin overcame a bit of a slow start to connect on 22 of 36 passes for 321 yards and two scores. His seven-straight 200-yard passing games are a school record.

TURNING POINT: There was no one play that seemed to swing momentum either way in this one. But with the Lions nursing a 10-3 lead in the second quarter, McGloin hit tight end Jesse James for a 35-yard catch-and-run to the Purdue 30. It eventually led to a Sam Ficken field goal and a 13-3 lead, and with the Boilermaker offense struggling the game was effectively over. Before that series, O'Brien gathered the entire offense in a sideline huddle and gave a motivational pep talk.

SOLID STRATEGY: Penn State defensive coordinator Ted Roof used a variety of blitzes that prevented Purdue QB Robert Marve from ever finding a rhythm. The Boilers were 1 of 11 on third downs in the first half.

NUMBERS GAME: Penn State had 265 yards of total offense in the first half, Purdue 129. The Boilermakers had 28 rushing yards in the first half.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: WR Allen Robinson had five catches for 58 yards.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Ficken was finally solid for the Lions, going 2 for 2 on field goals in the first half. Good to see the sophomore from Indiana do well in his home state.


• Penn State passing so much when this game was still a game. Purdue was giving up nearly 200 rushing yards per outing going in. More on this later.

• The ref not paying attention to Marve. He completed one pass while past the line of scrimmage and was said to be out of the pocket on a throwaway where he was clearly still in the pocket.

• The Purdue fans. Talk about giving up on a team. Attendance was listed as 40,098 but did not appear to be anything close to that.

HIT SQUAD: DE Sean Stanley wiped out Marve on a blindside sack late in the first half. The crowd (what there was of it) groaned as it could see Stanley close in on Marve and then make the hit.

HIDDEN HERO: Zach Zwinak got the start at TB and pounded out 134 yards on 21 carries. He became stronger as the game went along. Interesting that it took a while for the staff to start feeding him consistently.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: FB Michael Zordich plowed in two short-yardage touchdowns. He only had one TD on the season going into this game.


• That usual starting TB Bill Belton barely played in the first half. He appeared to be healthy. His only first-half snap was on a third-and-long, when he and Zwinak were in the backfield at the same time. O'Brien said Zwinak did a better job in practice.

• That Penn State DT Jordan Hill went out with a left knee injury in the second quarter. It was announced as a sprain in the press box. He was taken from the field on a cart. In the second half, Hill watched from the sideline in street clothes. After the game, he told reporters he intends to play in next week's game at Nebraska.

• That Purdue scored the first first-quarter points vs. PSU this year on an early field goal.

• That Penn State starting tight end Kyle Carter did not make the trip. He is dealing with a foot injury sustained in the Ohio State loss. James got the start in his place and finished with three catches for 49 yards and a score.

• That Penn State strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald was wearing shorts and a T-shirt on the sideline. It was 37 degrees with a light rain at kickoff. After pregame stretch, he dramatically took off his short, dove and landed chest first on the ground. The players went crazy.

• Backup QB Steven Bench played for the first time since a Week 2 loss at Virginia. He came in with four minutes and changes left in the game, and handed off on all put one play. The true freshman was 0 of 1 passing.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: How far over .500 can Penn State finish this year?

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