#12 Nittany Lions (4-0, 1-0) Host Boilermakers (1-3, 0-1)
Prior to the start of this fall football season, I expressed high hopes for Purdue. I worried about this game and I wondered whether the Lions would be ready for the Boilermakers when it rolled around. However, my concerns faded fast after Purdue lost their first game to lowly Nevada. Subsequently, in conference play, they have already bowed to the Golden Gophers on Boilermaker turf in West Lafayette.
But the downward slide didn’t stop there. In fact, it grew exponentially worse in that Minnesota game, where they lost not only their All-America wide receiver Rondale Moore, but also their quarterback, Elijah Sindelar, who led the conference in passing yards and total offense. The loss of Moore also impacts their kick- and punt-return game, as he was prolific in those categories. What’s worse, star defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal hasn’t been able to play since last year, and Purdue’s defense has been giving up 32.5 points per game. I think it is fair to say they
So, here we go again, thinks this Turkey. We’ll have to maintain concentration through another week before the real schedule kicks in.
SDR Can Kicked Down Road
While I do not expect a Maryland-style rout, I think we will learn little from this game. Therefore, the long awaited Sanguinarian Day of Reckoning (SDR) will have to wait another week for the big game at Kinnick. What I would hope to glean on Saturday is whether the Nittany Lions can come out of the tunnel with enthusiasm and play four good quarters of football. Beyond that, I do not expect that they will be tested much.
Maryland was an embarrassment. The blacked-out fans were much more excited about being there than the players, at least for the first quarter, until they either left or resigned themselves to the
At least if they do
Stats Are for Luuuzahs
However, I’ll give you some stats, anyway. In total offense, Purdue ranks 7th in the B10, but remember, they’ve lost their two best offensive players as of this game. The Boilermakers are last in the B10 in rushing by a broad margin, averaging only 68.3
One stat I will [continue to] harp on is third-down conversions. Penn State has begun to clamber its way out of the cellar, now ranking 12th in the B10 with an almost-respectable 37.2% completion rate. It ain’t tOSU (56.6%) but fortunately, it ain’t Rutgers (31.6%), either.
Turnovers could be a boon for the Nittany Lions here, as the Boilermakers are dead last in the conference with a net Turnover Margin of -2 per game while State sports a positive 0.75 rate.
Finally, we’ll give a shout-out to the guy who invented the term “increasingly irrelevant Time of Possession”, where Penn State is thirteenth and Purdue is eleventh. Oh yeah. That guy is Matt Herb, of BWI. I bet he wishes he invented the Chicken McNugget instead!
Call the Plummer!
The toilet ain’t working. Purdue is in deep need of a flush, having lost their league-leading starting quarterback Elijah Sindelar. In this case, the Roto-Rooter is 6’5″, 220 lb redshirt freshman Jack Plummer. This will be his second career start. His last start was against TCU on September 14,
Distinguished Alumnus: Robert C. Baker
This week’s Distinguished Alumnus is Robert C. Baker, who has both Purdue and Penn State ties. Born in 1921, Baker earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell in 1943 and then went on to do further work in pomology (the study of fruit cultivation), earning a master’s at Penn State and a doctorate at Purdue. Having achieved his Doctor of Fruit degree, he went back to Cornell, where he spent his entire academic life thenceforth. So, what is his distinction other than the joint PSU-Purdue connection?
Baker traveled the world innovating how people eat and view chicken. Accredited to him are more than 40 poultry, turkey, and cold cut innovations, making him the “George Washington Carver of poultry”. Sounds pretty mundane, I know, but I’m getting to the point. You see, Robert C. Baker is the inventor of the ubiquitous chicken nugget!
Yea, verily, Baker published his seminal nugget recipe in the 1950s while McDonald’s didn’t patent its recipe for Chicken McNuggets until 1979. It was not to long after that when some long-forgotten comedian asked the oft-repeated question, “Just what part of the chicken is the nugget?”
Baker died in 2006 at the age of 84, but his nuggets live on in our hearts and stomachs.
Looks like good football weather for Saturday at the Big Beave (formerly known as St. Joe Memorial Stadium), sponsored by the Record Room and Pop’s Mexi-Hots. The forecast temperature range is 51-60°F, and no clouds at all. While the high sky and bright sun might create some issues for punt- and kick-returners, we here at The Turkey think this is mighty fine football weather.
Da Bottom Line
This is where I typically put my foot in my mouth with the Official Turkey Poop Prediction, a fetid pile of malodorous, fuming, foul fowl offal that even a visit from Jack the Plummer can’t flush and sure as hell isn’t worth the screen real estate you’ll give up to read it. History has not been kind to Turkey Poop Predictions. For example, last week I predicted 27-24, Penn State. You know how it wound up. In my defense, who the hell out there predicted such a shutout, already? Hell, I got the “under” right, anyway.
The sportsbooks opened with a relatively modest spread of 16.5 but no way was that going to hold, especially with Purdue’s injuries. At publication time (Thursday PM), the spread was 28, with an over/under of 56. Even a birdbrain like this here Turkey can figure this to be a break-even of 42-14 in favor of Penn State. Purdue has been scoring 29.5 points per game. Penn State has been giving up 7.5; the Boilermakers allow 32.5 ppg while the Lions score 50. on the average. I’ll factor in the noon start and possible Iowa Distraction Syndrome (IDS) to give out a straight-out-of-the-ass prediction here. Penn State 45, Purdue 23. Take the over.
While the Nittany Lions, not the Boilermakers, are blowing off steam, half our eyes will be glued to Screen #2, where Penn State’s next two opponents, #14 Iowa (4-0, 1-0) and #19 Michigan (3-1, 1-1), square off in another nooner, which is liable to be the more engaging of the two games. Michigan is favored by 3.5 in the Big House. Turkey thinks they’ll lose and kiss their season goodbye.
Later, in early evening, another telling game will kick off as #25 Sparty (4-1, 2-0) marches up High Street to Ohio Stadium to face the #4 Schmuckeyes (5-0, 2-0). Schmucks favored by 20. If I were irreverent and an asshole, I would call this game “Horse Shit in da Horseshoe,” but I’m not. Well, yes I am, so I’ll call it that. Moo U. has given The Almighty OSU unexpected trouble in the past, so there’s a modicum, albeit infinitesimal, of upset potential.
I’ll be back after the game with some more irrelevant, made-up bullshit.