5 keys: Lions set to romp over Boilermakers

Five things to look for as Penn State goes for another blowout victory when it welcomes a depleted Purdue team for homecoming.

No. 1: Pile up points

Penn State’s offense is good, averaging 50 points per game. Purdue’s defense is bad, giving up 32.5 per game.

That’s a simple formula for a blowout.

The Nittany Lions should be able to light up the scoreboard, as long as Sean Clifford has another good day throwing the ball. Clifford was fantastic last week at Maryland, completing 26-of-31 passes for 398 yards, third most in school history.

PSU also will look to try and get the “LawnBoyz” going. Nicknames are fine and dandy, but the running game will have to produce at a higher level as the schedule starts to get much tougher next week at Iowa.

Penn State not only should be able to do a lot of damage when it has the ball, it also should have the ball a whole lot today. Purdue’s offense likely will stall much of they day, leading to a bunch of punts and a bunch of possessions for PSU.

Anything less than 40 points for the Lions today would be a surprise. The over/under for PSU’s point total is 41¢, which seems like a good play if you so choose.

No. 2: Poor Purdue

The Boilermakers are catching Penn State at absolutely the wrong time.

The Lions are coming off a 59-0 thrashing at Maryland, while Purdue lost its starting quarterback and best receiver to injuries in a 38-31 home loss to Minnesota.

There’s just not a lot of hope for the Boilermakers in this one, which is why PSU is favored by 28¢ points.

Jeff Brohm is a good coach and hopefully will stick around long enough to fully turn around the Purdue program. He led his team to a stunning 49-20 drubbing of No. 3 Ohio State last year, but things have turned sour this season with a 1-3 start and the key injuries.

Jack Plummer takes over at QB for Purdue. The redshirt freshman could be in for a world of problems against a terrific Penn State defense.

Making matters worse, the Boilermakers average only 68.2 yards rushing.

Merely getting to 10 points today could be a big challenge for the visitors.

SUBHD: No. 3: O-line improvement

The unit made good strides against Maryland, giving Clifford a solid pocket for most of his throws and helping lead the way to 198 yards rushing.

This shouldn’t be a major test for the O-line because Purdue’s defense doesn’t get a lot of push up front and is not strong against the run.

What this game provides is another opportunity for the guys up front to gel against an inferior opponent and build confidence heading into the meat of the Big Ten schedule.

Speaking of confidence …

SUBHD: No. 4: Confidence boost

Penn State will win easily, and if the team plays well, it will further add to the squad’s confidence heading into next week’s night showdown at Iowa.

Look, we really don’t know how good Penn State is yet. Yes, the Lions have been blowing people out, and both sides of the ball have played well, but the competition just has not been great.

Get this final tune-up game out of the way, keep everyone healthy, and we’ll really start to learn more about this team next week.

SUBHD: No. 5: Players to watch

PSU: Get off my lawn! The running backs have been talked about all week because of the LawnBoyz chain, so let’s see them earn their notoriety with their play on the field.

Purdue: QB Jack Plummer takes over over the offense after Elijah Sindelar was injured, and he’s getting thrown to the wolves against an outstanding defense.

Prediction: Penn State 45, Purdue 9

Follow @CoryGiger on Twitter for live updates and analysis throughout today’s game.