PSU-Purdue highlights, lowlights

UNIVERSITY PARK – Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State’s 45-21 victory over Purdue on Saturday at Beaver Stadium:

Play of the game: On third-and-7 from the Purdue 8, Adam Breneman caught a short pass from Christian Hackenberg and lunged to get the ball over the goal line for a TD that extended the Penn State lead to 28-7 with 1:18 left in the first half.

Offensive player of the game: Penn State tailback Zach Zwinak rushed 26 times for 149 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensive player of the game: PSU linebacker Mike Hull made six tackles, including one for loss. He also forced and recovered a fumble.

Most telling statistic: Penn State outrushed the Boilermakers 292-84, including 182-1 in the first half.

Hidden statistic: The Nittany Lions didn’t punt.

Best run: Jesse James caught a 10-yard pass, turned upfield and raced 58 yards to the Purdue 16 in the third quarter.

Best return: Purdue’s Raheem Mostert exploded through a hole and returned a kickoff 100 yards to cut Penn State’s lead to 28-14 with 1:05 left in the first half.

Best pass: Hackenberg’s first attempt of the day – an out to Allen Robinson in front of the Purdue bench – went for 12 yards, was perfectly placed and got the freshman off to a good start.

Worst pass: As he was blitzed, Hackenberg was picked off by Landon Feichter in the fourth quarter with no PSU receiver near the play.

Best catch: Robinson screened a defender in third quarter and went high for an 11-yard reception to extend a PSU possession.

Catch it, will ya: James dropped a pass in the second quarter. Defensively (and why cornerbacks are not receivers) Jordan Lucas dropped two potential interceptions, although he did make one that helped the Lions gain control in the first half.

Hold it, won’t ya: Bill Belton fumbled, again.

Best block: Lion tight end Kyle Carter hustled downfield to lead James’ big gain.

Best tackle: Sam Ficken made an excellent one-on-one tackle after Purdue kickoff returner Akeem Hunt gained 37 yards in the third quarter and had a lot more daylight in front of him.

Best hit: Lion defensive end Deion Barnes sacked Purdue quarterback Danny Etling in the third quarter, forcing a fumble that Austin Johnson pounced on.

Best kick: Purdue’s Thomas Meadows skied a third-quarter kick up the right sideline to the PSU 18 that Akeel Lynch could only return 8 yards.

Worst kick: Sam Ficken doinked a second-quarter kickoff that Purdue’s Ruben Ibarra fielded at the 19 and returned 15 yards.

Best call: On third-and-1 from the 31, leading 31-21 in the third quarter, Hackenberg faked to Breneman, who was lined up in the backfield, and then hit him with play-action pass for 14 yards.

Worst call: The Lions could have been more aggressive in the last minute of the first half, instead electing not to use any of their three timeouts.

Worst penalty: After Purdue cut the PSU lead to 14-7 in the first quarter, Lucas returned an interception 22 yards, at which point Boilermaker guard Jordan Roos was hit with a personal foul, tacking on another 15. That put the Nits at the Purdue 33 and set up their 21-7 lead.

Best effort: Penn State’s offensive line escorted a ground game that averaged 5.0 yards on 58 carries and allowed zero sacks.

Unsung hero: Lion corner Adrian Amos made eight stops, including 2.5 for loss.