#PSUvsPUR: Lions run by Boilers

Tailback Zach Zwinak scored three times, and Bill Belton once, as State rolled Saturday at Beaver Stadium. The Lions dominated on the stat sheet.

Penn State (5-4, 2-3) takes on Purdue (1-8, 0-5) at Beaver Stadium Saturday. The Nittany Lions are looking to assure themselves of no worse than a .500 record on the season.

Keep track of what is happening with our quarter-by-quarter updates. After the game, we will convert this story into a quick recap.

PREGAME: It is a sunny day and temperature are expected to be in the mid-50s for the game. There is very little wind.… Allen Robinson, who sustained a minor shoulder injury in last week's loss at Minnesota, is in uniform and warming up. But he has some kind of wrap on his left shoulder (under his pads).

Bill Belton started, and scored, then Zach Zwinak came in, and he scored too.

Penn State leads visiting Purdue 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, scoring on both drives it has had. Belton capped off the first, a 13 play, 75-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown scamper, and Zwinak ended the second with a one-yard plunge. State went 66 yards on 10 plays to finish that drive.

Zwinak became the first player since 2008 to carry for at least 10 scores, and the 16th all-time. The Lions punished Purdue's mediocre run defense, running 18 times for 86 yards compared to just five passing attempts for 34 yards from quarterback Christian Hackenberg.

Purdue is driving to start the second quarter. The Boilermakers gained the Lions' redzone thanks to a 38-yard catch and run by Cameron Posey.


It's true, Purdue did score against Penn State's first-team, only the third time it has scored against first stringers in its last five games. And the Boilermakers did return a kick, as Raheem Mostert went 100-yards to pull Purdue back to 28-14.

But not much went right otherwise for the visitors, who trail by that same score, 28-14, at halftime.

Penn State has mixed a plethora of young and veteran players on both sides of the ball, and Purdue has had few answers, especially Greg Hudson's defense. State scored on a one-yard Zwinak carry, his 11th touchdown of the year, and then scored again on an eight-yard Hackenberg strike to Adam Breneman. The freshman tight end caught the ball at the two, and fought his way into the endzone for his first score of the year.

The Boilermakers pulled to within two scores when Mostert caught the ball at the one, charged forward, and never stopped with 1:05 left in the half. It was the second score of the quarter for Purdue, who also scores less than two minutes into the frame, when Purdue quarterback Danny Etling hit Justin Sinz for a two-yard score.

The stats are indicative of the half that was, even if its only a two score game. Penn State has 20 first downs to Purdues four, and have out gained the visitors 265-88. The Lions have stayed true to their ground game, getting 16 carries for 77 yards from Belton, 12 for 75 from Zwinak, and four for 19 from redshirt freshman Akeel Lynch. At halftime, Hackenberg is 9 of 12 for 83 yards and a score, and to no one's surprise, his favorite target has been Allen Robinson. He re-set the single season catch record he set a year ago, as he now has 78 with two games and a half to play. So far Saturday, he has five grabs for 60 yards.


Zach Zwinak keeps steaming ahead, and so does Penn State, who allowed Purdue to get within seven but has grown its lead to 38-21 at the end of three.

The visitors cut a two score halftime deficit to one when Etling fooled Penn State's defense on a play action and scampered untouched 11 yards for a score to make it 28-21, but the Lions answered with a Sam Ficken 29-yard boot, before Zwinak scored his third touchdown of the day from five yards out. It ended a six play, 40 yard drive for the hosts.

Penn State has a 401-207 yards advantage, including a whopping 216-39 lead on the ground. That effort has been paced by Zwinak's 18 carries for 105 yards, though Belton has more carries with 19, but less yards with 81. Hackenberg is 14 of 19 for 185 and a score.

The Lions are driving, and will start at Purdue's 42, to begin the final stanza in front of an announced crowd of 96,491.


Penn State wasn't flashy in the fourth quarter, but it didn't need to be. It scored once, on a Christian Hackenberg four-yard touchdown run, which was more than enough to salt away Purdue on this day.

State won 45-21, paced by three rushing touchdown from Zwinak, who has 11 now on the season, and one from Belton. Hackenberg also tossed a touchdown to go along with his run, finding tight end Adam Breneman for an eight-yard score in the first half.

Bill O'Brien's club improved to 6-4 with the win. The Lions rushed for 289 yards to Purdue's 41 , and outgained the visitors 501-264. Hackenberg finished 16 of 23 for 212 yards and a score, while Zwinak led all rushers with 149 yards on 26 carries.

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