Penn State at Purdue
When: Thursday, September 1 at 8 p.m.
Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
Radio: See Penn State Radio Network
Three Things To Watch…
Which Nittany Lions Show: Penn State flashed two distinctive looks in 2021, the pre-Sean Clifford injury one that started 5-0, and was having its way against no. 3 Iowa, and the one that showed up after Clifford was knocked out and lost six of its final eight games. Optimism and Big Ten title hopes glowed around this program less than 12-months ago, but that excitement has never felt further away. Can Penn State get it back with another big road win to open the year?
New Look Defense Will Be Tested: Manny Diaz’s new look defense will be tested. Aiden O’Connell threw for 3,712 yards a season ago and 28 touchdowns, only trailing Ohio State’s CJ Stroud as the Big Ten’s top passer. O’Connell led an offense that was electric at times, scoring 40+ points three times, and O’Connell threw for 536 yards against Michigan State. His leading receiver David Bell is off to the NFL, still, Purdue’s offense can’t be discounted. But neither can Penn state’s defense. While the loss of six starters and a new coordinator shake up one of the top units in college football from 2021, the Nittany Lions have a history of reloading and a potentially elite secondary could lead the charge.
Penn State Will Run the Ball Better: This is a statement of fact, not because we’re overly optimistic about the run game, but the bar is absurdly low. Penn State’s rushing attack in 2021 was more than disappointing. But the shuffled up running back room should help lead a resurgence. Keyvone Lee (I’m a known Keyvone Lee stan) appears to be the lead horse, but freshmen Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen should factor in, as the duo comes out of fall camp with ample hype.