Penn State Improves to 6-1 with Win Over Purdue

Story posted October 17, 2011 in Sports, CommRadio by Eric DeBerardinis

Penn State (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) extended their winning streak to five games with a 23-18 win over Purdue (3-3, 1-1 Big Ten) in Saturday’s homecoming game at Beaver Stadium.

Penn State struggled to put Purdue away, but managed to hold on in the first matchup between the two teams since 2008. Although aesthetically unappealing, players and coaches alike make the point that they don’t care how it’s done, but simply that the game goes into the win column.

In the first matchup between the two teams since 2008, both looked sloppy throughout. The Nittany Lions made it a point to note that the win is the most important thing to take from the game, while recognizing their deficiencies.

“It’s unfortunate we have made some games closer than they should have been,” said Penn State head coach Joe Paterno. “I just want to enjoy this one.”

The quarterback tandem for Penn State continued their split playing time along with their inconsistency. Rob Bolden once again started the game under center, but was replaced by Matt McGloin at the beginning of the second quarter. Bolden started the second half, but McGloin played the rest of the game, following the first series.

Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin continued to split time at quarterback, with McGloin getting the majority of the snaps for the second week in a row. Bolden remained the starter, as he has been throughout the season, but only played in the first quarter and the first series of the second half.

Although he got off to a slow start, McGloin outplayed Bolden yet again, and was on the field in the waning moments. Bolden went just 2-6 on the day for 40 yards. McGloin completed eight of 17 passes and threw for 145 yards and one interception.

“I don’t care if we win by one point or 100 points, as long as we continue to win,” said McGloin.

Bolden’s two completions were on the team’s second drive to Brandon Moseby-Felder, who assumed the starting role in the absence of injured leading receiver Derek Moye. Moseby-Felder delivered with two catches for 40 yards on Penn State’s second drive, setting up a one-yard touchdown for Curtis Dukes.

Penn State’s typically stout defense struggled more against Purdue than it had in its first two Big Ten games, but ultimately got the job done.

“We knew that we had to step up,” said defensive tackle Devon Still. “We wanted to get this victory and go on to become Big 10 Champions.”
Purdue employed their own version of tag-team quarterbacks with Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve. TerBush got a majority of the snaps, going 12-25 with one touchdown, but he also threw two interceptions. Marve was 2-5 with one interception.

In the first half, the defense allowed the longest pass play by an opponent this season, a 50-yard reception by Purdue wideout Justin Siller. On the following series, Purdue notched the longest run by an opponent, a 39-yard burst by Ralph Bolden.

“They were coming to the line and adjusting and hitting our holes,” said Still.
In both cases though, the defense was able to limit Purdue to two field goals from the foot of Carson Wiggs.
Penn State was clinging to a one-point advantage prior to halftime, before a late interception by Nate Stupar set up a field goal to extend the lead to 10-6.

Special teams proved to be a big factor on Saturday. An Anthony Fera field goal gave the Nittany Lions a touchdown advantage, 13-6. The Boilermakers found that touchdown quickly after a return to the Penn State 25, and a subsequent TD pass. However, Wiggs failed to connect on the tying extra point, leaving the score at 13-12.

On the ensuing kickoff, Wiggs kicked the ball out of bounds, setting up great field position for the Nittany Lions. Penn State worked their way down the field, before Silas Redd scampered his way for a nine yard touchdown.

The non-capacity crowd saw Redd relied upon heavily all game. Redd tallied his third consecutive 100-yard performance, going for 131 yards on 28 carries.

“We are trying to make sure we can run the football in tough ballgames,” said Paterno.

Purdue responded though with a drive that ended in a one yard Akeem Shavers touchdown. Down 20-18, the Boilermakers failed to convert the two-point conversion.

Chaz Powell returned the following kick all the way down to the Purdue 3, before 15 yards were removed due to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The offense settled for a field goal.

Penn State’s defense then returned to its previous dominant ways. They forced a three and out followed by a fourth-down interception deep in Purdue’s own territory, providing the offense with the ball back.

“We have to be able to make some plays in the clutch, which I think our defense has done,” said Paterno.

Matt McGloin converted on a 4th-and-1 sneak to seal the win.

“We are just worried about winning the games, the style points are for everyone else,” said Still. “At this point, 6-1 isn’t too shabby. “
Head coach Joe Paterno returned to the booth to coach Saturday’s game, but said he hopes to return to the sidelines next week.

Penn State will travel to Evanston, Illinois, next Saturday to take on the Northwestern Wildcats. All the action can be heard on ComRadio beginning at 6:00 p.m with the Pregame Show and then at 7:00 p.m. with the broadcast of the game.

Eric DeBerardinis is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, e-mail ejd5136@psu.edu.