Welp, that didn’t go according to plan. Despite a fourth quarter pick-6 to push Purdue over Penn State, the Nittany Lions were able to hold Purdue’s offense before finally breaking through to a 35-31 win on the road.
It’s a tough look for a Purdue team that was staring at the best schedule in the Big Ten. The early Penn State game was supposed to be an announcement that Purdue was a real threat to break into the Rose Bowl. Instead, AOC’s 29 incompletions and Brohm’s lack of run game add to a popular narrative over the last few seasons.
Thankfully, Purdue will get some medicine in the form of in-state FCS squad, Indiana State.
Purdue opens as 34.5 point favorites at home against the Sycamores. Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
While the loss isn’t great for the team as a whole, it is a chance to jump on a line that’s both very large and probably not big enough.
Purdue flashed play makers at the wide receiver position, with a couple missed opportunities that cost them the game against Penn State, but it also shows that Brohm’s offense still works and the aggression is still there.
King Doerue had 15 carried against Penn St. but struggled to find much room to operate. He averaged under 4 yards per carry and didn’t have a run over 9 yards.
Which means that AOC’s 58 pass attempts might be the normal for Purdue on the season. It’s clear the Boilermakers talent rests in their offensive line in pass protection and wide receiving unit while their running backs lack the kind of burst to frighten defenses.
But AOC had one of his worst games as a starter under Coach Brohm. He didn’t turn over the ball, but he completed just 50% of his passes and struggled to move the chains late. Penn State is a very good defense. They get after quarterbacks and press into receivers. AOC doesn’t have an All-American at wide receiver for the first time in his career. He struggled to not make quick reads into small windows and his receivers struggled to make space against Penn State’s corners except for Charlie Jones.
But there were still chances. TJ Sheffield had an open corner route that AOC was just late on and floated, allowing Penn State’s defensive back to make a great play on the ball. Payne Durham had some drops and a big catch changed to incomplete on a review.
These things don’t tend to go your way all the time, especially against talented and athletic teams. But Purdue should have an advantage at every position. 30 plus points seem daunting, but this will be a hungry Purdue offense wanting to attack, attack, and attack through the air because that’s what they’re going to need to do all year.
So I’m taking Purdue to cover handedly and drop nearly 50 on the Sycamores.