The Caboose of the Boilermakers

We are coming up on another homecoming week in Happy Valley this Saturday, October 5th. The Boilermakers of Purdue are limping their way to State College to face off against the Nittany Lions for the 19th time in their competitive history. Penn State holds a 14-3-1 all-time record against Purdue and are strong favorites to get that 15th win. As of Monday, Penn State is favored by four touchdowns – a large margin, that to be honest, is likely modest.

The other day during a press conference, Purdue Head Coach Jeff Brohm told media that 6 of his players would not be playing in the game due to injury. These include: starting QB and promising athlete Elijah Sindelar, DT Lorenzo Neal, WR Jared Sparks, backup RBs Tario Fuller and Richie Worship, and most importantly, superstar in the making, all-purpose WR Rondale Moore.

These injuries are bound to do massive damage to whatever offensive attack Purdue wants to implement against Penn State on Saturday. Most teams would not be able to survive their QB, 2 RBs, and a WR all out for the same game – but Purdue especially, who relies on Moore and Sindelar to execute (basically anything), does not look favorable this weekend.

Elijah Sindelar, the senior QB, was having a great start to his season; in just three games:

  • he was completing 64.3% of his passes for about 1000 yards
  • he had 9 TDs and 3 INTs
  • he was able to run in another TD

Their backup QB (who PSU will face Saturday) has not been nearly as good, only completing 51.4% of his passes for 3 TDs and 4 INTs, reminiscent of Kyle’s long-lost Heisman darkhorse D’Eriq King. Losing your starting QB is always going to be a tough hill to climb, but the absence of Rondale Moore is much more damning for Purdue. This kid is a superstar and if you don’t want to take my word for it just check out his highlight reel against Ohio State in 2018. His freshman year he caught 114 passes and put up nearly 1500 scrimmage yards with 14 TDs. This year there was more than plenty of Heisman buzz about him and led Purdue with 29 receptions and 390 scrimmage yards. These two playmakers are the heart and soul of this offense and without them Purdue will surely struggle to move the ball against a stout Penn State defense in Happy Valley in front of a homecoming crowd.

I predict that Penn State will win this game without much controversy. Coming off of a strong momentum building game in Maryland, the #LawnBoyz will be ready to stomp the Boilermakers and their weird mascot.

The betting line for this game is Penn State -28.0 and 55.5. For those who don’t know, that means the total points scored between both teams is meant to be 55-56 and Penn State is supposed to win by 28 points. Basically Vegas is predicting a 42-14 win for Penn State. I think the score will more resemble something along the lines of 49-3. The parlay (combined odds of multiple bets) of choosing Penn State to win by more than 28 and for the score to be less than 55.5 is +440. These odds essentially work out as such, if you bet $100 on said parlay and win – you will receive a total of $440. I put down some of my own money on this parlay because I really do think that Purdue will have an immensely hard time scoring points. Following my logic, this would allow PSU to win by more than 28 and not allow more than 55 points to score (Staturdays can not be held responsible for your gambling losses, however may be entitled to fair compensation for your profits. LLC, all rights reserved, yada yada.)

Outside of the game lines themselves, there are a few things to watch for going into the 5th game of the season:

  • Any true-freshman who has played snaps in all 4 previous games will burn their Red Shirt if they do get playing time.
    • Players like LBs Lance Dixon and Brandon Smith, DBs Jaquan Brisker and Keaton Ellis, OL Caedan Wallace, and RBs Noah Cain and Devyn Ford have all played 4 games already in their true-freshman year. If they do play against Purdue, they will have officially burned their Red Shirt. It is safe to say that Noah Cain and Devyn Ford have earned playing time all season – but we will wait to see who else will be year-long contributors.
  • Micah Parsons coming back with a vengeance.
    • LBs and DLs had a feast on the Maryland offense last Saturday, but unfortunately due to a targeting penalty – Micah Parsons sat most of the game. I expect him to come back hungry against Purdue this week. Don’t be surprised if Micah puts up a multi-sack game or maybe even forces a fumble or two.
  • Clarity among the RB situation.
    • We are coming to the time now where either a hierarchy of RBs will emerge or a true rotation will be the situation going forward. Journey Brown has earned the starting role but really is more or less splitting time with the other backs. They all have proven their worth be it in the run or the passing game. After this game we will have a clearer look into the future of this teams RB situation heading into the more competitive part of the schedule.
  • Another career game for Sean Clifford?
    • Purdue’s defense has been gashed in the passing game so far this season, letting up 295 passing yards to Nevada, 420 to Vanderbilt, and 396 to Minnesota. If Purdue struggled to get pressure on Nevada’s Carson Strong and allowed him to nearly clip 300 passing yards and 3 TDs – what will Clifford be able to accomplish?

All in all, these are some exciting times for Penn State. Fans should head to Beaver Stadium confident on Saturday and should hope for a nice comfortable win. There is a tough road game ahead, but we can only look at the game currently on the schedule. Let’s go win game number five. We Are.

4-0.

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