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November 3, 2012

BWI Staff Picks 'Em: Purdue

Coming off a tough 35-23 loss to Ohio State a week ago, the Nittany Lions travel to West Lafayette this weekend to take on a struggling Boilermakers team.

Find out who are we picking to win this weekend, and by how much, right here:

Nate Bauer
Blue White Illustrated Web Editor
2012 Record - 5-3

I wrote it earlier this week, but if Penn State wants its games against Nebraska and Wisconsin to be relevant this season - which it most certainly does - then it needs to win Saturday at Purdue.

The good news for the Nittany Lions is that the Boilermakers are really struggling this season, despite taking Ohio State to overtime and nearly knocking off Notre Dame earlier this year. So, in terms of teams that you'd like to take on following a tough loss at home, this Boilermakers team certainly fits the bill.

Granted, the weather in Indiana today is sloppy, so I think that some of the scoring numbers might come down a little bit for both teams. But, if you're Penn State, getting into a defensive-minded game against a Purdue team that allowed 44 points to Minnesota a week ago wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Earlier this week, I would have picked a 34-24 win for the Nits, but with the weather, I'll drop those numbers down a bit for each. Either way, Penn State moves to 6-3 this season setting up a key trip to Lincoln next weekend.

Penn State - 28
Purdue - 17

Ryan Snyder
Blue White Illustrated Recruiting Analyst
2012 Record - 6-2

In years past, I probably would have circled the game against Purdue as a potential letdown, but this year I'm really buying into what this team is all about, and that's heart.

Sure, this isn't going to be as easy as most believe. Purdue is a better team than its record indicates, and that collapse against Minnesota last weekend will just add more fuel to the fire, but on paper at least, PSU has the edge in both talent and coaching.

One thing that should go Penn State's way is the rushing game. I could see Zach Zwinak earning another 100 yard performance, while Belton may also rack up a good total if he's able to break a few rushes for 15-20 yards. I see Zwinak being the workhorse throughout the majority of this game though.

Defensively, the front seven shouldn't have too many problems keeping Robert Marve in the pocket. His knee alone will prevent him from really scrambling under pressure, so I expect both Jordan Hill and Deion Barnes to have a solid performance. Marve's limited mobility will also limit the amount of play-action calls, allowing Penn State to be a bit more aggressive when it comes to attacking Purdue's rushing attack.

A slow start by the Boilermakers should allow PSU to take an early lead of 10 points or more.Purdue will get things going in the second half when Penn State's defense lets up a bit, but the Nittany Lions should set the tone early and hold the lead throughout the entire game.

Penn State - 35
Purdue - 21

Tim Owen
Blue White Illustrated Assistant Editor
2012 Record - 5-3

Last week I picked the Nits to win, but I had reservations, writing if Ohio State "returns a turnover for a touchdown, it will win the game Saturday." You would think I have learned my lesson.

I'm picking Penn State to win again this week, but there are a number of things about Purdue that causes pause. The Boilermakers are reeling, Danny Hope is on the hot-seat and they need to win three of their last four games to save postseason eligibility, and essentially Hope's job. The athletic department is expecting the smallest crowd at Ross-Ade Stadium of the season and right now, it seems as if all is lost in West Lafayette.

And sometimes, as Penn Staters should know, that feeling - the you-against-the-world feeling - can be the ultimate motivating factor. This spells out to be a trap game for the Nittany Lions, especially since they're coming off a tough loss to the Buckeyes last week, but it's up to Bill O'Brien and staff to make sure that doesn't happen.

That's basically why I'm still picking the Nits. The offense matches up favorably against Purdue's defense, especially if All-Big Ten defensive tackle Kawann Short isn't at full health, and Penn State's defense should stifle Purdue's lackluster offense. This game will probably be closer than it should be, but PSU hangs on for the victory.

Penn State - 24
Purdue - 20

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