By: C.J. Doon
After suffering their first loss in Big Ten play last week at the hands of the undefeated Buckeyes, Penn State was looking for a big win to catapult their quest for a Big Ten Leaders Division title.
They found just what they needed in West Lafayette, dominating the Purdue Boilermakers for sixty minutes en route to a 34-9 victory. Matt McGloin threw for a career-high 321 yards and two touchdowns, Zach Zwinak rushed for 134 yards, and Brandon Moseby-Felder caught six passes for 129 yards to lead the Lions to 506 yards of total offense.
“Man, I didn’t know we went over 500 yards,” Moseby-Felder said in the locker room following the game. “That’s terrific. This whole week we’ve been game planning [for] Purdue, we knew what they were going to do, and we just executed.”
Fifth-year senior Michael Zordich rumbled for two touchdowns on the afternoon, finishing with 33 yards on 11 carries. Zordich scored on a six yard run in the opening quarter to put the Lions up 10-3, and ran for another touchdown late in the first half to give Penn State a 20-3 advantage before the break.
Zordich, one of the Nittany Lions most passionate leaders, gave all the credit for his two touchdowns to the offensive line, crediting their work in the offseason and in practice for the success of the running game.
“They’ve been working all summer, all spring, just the whole time, and have really grown as a good group together,” Zordich said. “It’s fun to play with, and it shows on the field.”
Once again, Penn State played stifling defense against a Big Ten opponent, holding the Boilermakers to 87 yards rushing and forcing a turnover for the fifth consecutive week. Kicker Sam McCartney made a 21-yard field goal on Purdue’s first possession, but the Boilermaker’s did not score again until Caleb Terbush found Antavian Edison for a 2-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the game.
Butkus Award finalists Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti were all over the field for the Lions, combining for 13 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and one pass breakup on the day. Defensive lineman Sean Stanley, Deion Barnes, and James Terry were able to get in the face of both Robert Marve and Caleb Terbush, combining for five tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and one sack on the afternoon.
Defensive tackle Jordan Hill recorded one tackle before limping off the field with an apparent leg injury early in the first half. Hill suffered a strain on his left knee after it was bent backward making a tackle, but did not suffer any tears of his MCL or ACL. He will be monitored for further tests, and is doubtful for Saturday’s contest vs. Nebraska.
“When you see somebody going down holding that knee there’s a lot that goes through your mind,” sophomore cornerback Adrian Amos said. Hill came back to the sidelines after going through some tests with the medical staff, and spoke to the defense before the fourth quarter.
“When you have a leader on your defense come back, even just his presence alone, just knowing that he’s there it helped out a lot,” Amos said.
The Nittany Lions must now shift their focus towards next week’s tilt against the Cornhuskers. Nebraska’s quarterback, Taylor Martinez, is coming off a gutsy performance on the road against Michigan State, rushing for 205 yards and two touchdowns, and completing 16 of 36 passes for 160 yards and two scores through the air. The junior signal-caller connected with receiver Jamal Turner for the go-ahead touchdown with only six seconds remaining to beat the Spartans, moving the Huskers’ record to 7-2 (4-1 Big Ten) on the season. Nebraska – currently tied for the lead in the Big Ten Legends Division with the Michigan Wolverines – is looking to punch their ticket to the Big Ten Championship Game in January with a win over the Lions. The game can be seen at 3:30 ET on ABC or ESPN2.