Big Ten Football predictions: Purdue Boilermakers at Penn St Nittany Lions

Purdue Boilermakers at Penn St Nittany Lions
Beaver Stadium – University Park, Pennsylvania
Saturday, October 15, 2011, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: Big Ten Network
Opening Line: Penn St -13 1/2
Current Line: Penn St -11 1/2
Opening Total: 39 1/2
Current Total: 40 1/2
Opening Money Line: Penn St -465 / Purdue +370
Current Money Line: Penn St -440 / Purdue +350

Penn St hosts Purdue in a Big Ten Leaders Division clash. The Nittany Lions opened as a 13.5 point favorite and were bet down to -11.5 points.

Purdue and Penn St meet for the 15th time Saturday in University Park. Penn St leads the series 10-3-1, but the two teams haven’t played each other since 2008. Penn St has won 4 straight in the series and is 5-1-1 at home versus Purdue. Both teams are undefeated in conference play. Purdue, coached by Danny Hope, is 3-2 overall including a win last week at home against Minnesota 45-17. Purdue also has home wins over Middle Tennessee St 27-24, and Southeast Missouri St 59-0, along with losses at Rice 24-22, and at home to Notre Dame 38-10. Penn St, coached by Joe Paterno, is 5-1 this season with the only loss coming at home to #2 Alabama 27-11. The Nittany Lions have home wins over Indiana St 41-7, Eastern Michigan 34-6, and last week against Iowa 13-3, and road wins at Temple 14-10, and at Indiana 16-10.

Purdue opened Big Ten play last week against Minnesota, arguably the worst team in the Big Ten.  It certainly showed as Purdue jumped out to a 24-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, and cruised to a 45-17 victory and easily covered the 13.5 point college football betting line.  Purdue had 372 total yards including 217 yards rushing. No Purdue player had more than 60 yards rushing, and 3 players had a rushing touchdown. The Boilermakers were dominant on defense holding Minnesota to 213 total yards, and 11 first downs. The Gophers had 3 turnovers including an interception returned 37 yards for a touchdown near the end of the first quarter. Minnesota didn’t score until there was 1:27 left in the first half when they kicked a field goal to make the score 31-3. The Gophers didn’t score an offensive touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter, as the other touchdown came on a 92 yard kickoff return.

Purdue is averaging 412.2 yards a game, including 215.6 rushing yards. The Boilermakers score 32.6 points a game. Purdue has 4 turnovers and has allowed 14 sacks this season. Purdue is 34/ on third and fourth down conversions, and 20/23 scoring in the red zone with 16 touchd0wns. Purdue is allowing 345.8 yards a game, including 203 passing yards. The Boilermakers are allowing 20.6 points a game. Purdue has forced 6 turnovers and 5 sacks this season. Purdue opponents are 31/80 on third and fourth down conversions, and 10/11 scoring in the red zone with 8 touchdowns.

Purdue has been playing all season without projected starting quarterback Rob Henry who tore his ACL in fall camp. Caleb TerBush has replaced him but Robert Marve also takes some snaps. TerBush is 75/117 passing for 787 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions, along with 39 carries for 120 yards and one touchdown. Marve is 20/36 passing with 197 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 5 carries for 9 yards. Running back Ralph Bolden has 57 carries, 273 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Akeem Shavers has 44 carries, 242 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 3 catches for 24 yards and a touchdown catch. Akeem Hunt has 2 rushing touchdowns. Receiver Antavian Edison has 17 catches for 280 yards, and 2 touchdowns. O.J. Ross has 18 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown. Justin Stiller has 20 catches for 172 yards.  Kicker Carson Wiggs is 20/20 on extra points and 7/11 on field goals with a long of 53 yards.

Penn St hosted Iowa last week. The Nittany Lions were up 6-3 at halftime and put the game away with a touchdown with 8 minutes left to win 13-3 and cover the 4 point spread. It was the first time all season Penn St covered in a game. Penn St had 395 total yards, including 231 rushing yards. Running back Silas Redd had 28 carries for 142 yards. Quarterback  Matthew McGloin threw for 133 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Penn St held the normally explosive Iowa offense to 253 total yards, including just 84 rushing yards, and 16 first downs. Iowa had 3 turnovers in the game and allowed 5 sacks.

Penn St has struggled this season on offense. The Nittany Lions are averaging 374.2 yards and 21.5 points a game. Penn St is averaging 212.2 passing yards and 162 rushing yards a game. The Lions have 11 turnovers and have allowed 5 sacks. Penn St is 42/97 on third and fourth down conversions, and 17/23 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns. The defense for Penn St is ranked in the top 5 in most major categories except rushing defense and they are still ranked #16 in that category. Penn St is allowing 250.8 yards and 10.5 points a game. Penn St is allowing 157.7 passing yards and 93.2 rushing yards a game. The Lions have forced 13 sacks and 14 turnovers. Penn St opponents are 39/106 on third and fourth down conversions, and 11/11 scoring in the red zone with 6 touchdowns.

McGloin and Rob Bolden have split the snaps at quarterback this season, but neither has been spectacular. McGloin has put up better numbers, with 56/95 passing for 758 yards, and 5 touchdowns with one interception. Bolden is 42/92 for 486 yards, a touchdown, and 4  interceptions. Redd has 119 carries for 574 yards and 4 touchdowns along with 7 catches for 26 yards. Curtis Dukes has 27 carries for 190 yards.  Michael Zordich has only 10 carries but he has two touchdown runs. Back-up Brandon Beachum has 21 carries for 81 yards but is doubtful with an ankle injury.  Receiver Derek Moye has 28 catches for 485 yards, and 3 scores. Justin Brown has 19 catches for 225 yards. Penn St has used 3 kickers this year and the three are 13/14 on extra points and 8/114 on field goals with a long of 43 yards.

As mentioned, Penn St is 1-5 against the spread this season, and all 6 games have gone under the total. Purdue is 2-3 ATS and the total is 3-1-1 this season. The Boilermakers are 8-23-1 ATS in their last 32 October games, 7-2 ATS in the last 9 as a road underdog of 10.5 points or more, and 2-7-1 following a cover in the previous game. The Nittany Lions are 19-7-2 ATS in the last 28 October games, 4-11 ATS in the last 15 as a home favorite, including 1-5 as a favorite of 10.5 points or more, 1-4 ATS in the last 5 as a favorite and at home, 1-5 in the last 6 following a straight up win, 1-6 ATS against teams with winning records and on grass, and 1-7 ATS in the last 8 overall.

Penn St opened as a 13.5 point favorite and were quickly bet down to 11.5 points. The reason for that is Penn St might not even score 14 points in the game. They have only scored more than 16 points in a game this season against Indiana St and Eastern Michigan. However, Penn St has a dominant defense and should be able to stop Purdue on offense as they did against Iowa last week. I like Purdue to cover and the game to go under the total.

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