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The first Saturday in October brings a different feel to the college football scene, with conference action starting in earnest this week across the lower 48



2008-10-03

The first Saturday in October brings a different feel to the college football scene, with conference action starting in earnest this week across the lower 48. One 5-0 team already has crashed (USF) and Utah needed all 60 minutes to hold off Oregon State. Penn State will attempt to stay unblemished at Purdue, but the Big Ten has been less than kind to Joe Pa's team of late. Here's a closer look at the game.

After last week's 38-24 win and non-cover over Illinois at Beaver Stadium, Penn State travels on the road against a team that actually has a pulse (at Syracuse earlier). The Nittany Lions have been the imposing squad in the Big 10, in throttling opponents. Starting with this contest, four of the next five are on the conference road, including Wisconsin next week and at Ohio State and at Iowa in the coming weeks. Senior signal caller Daryll Clark continues to look very comfortable at the controls of a diverse Penn State "HD" offense with exceptional weapons on the perimeter. Despite missing suspended players in the defensive front, the Nittany Lions have still managed to pressure opposing quarterbacks and clog up running lanes for linebackers to make tackles. This will be a big test for Joe Paterno's team being 4-13 ATS against Big Ten opponents over the last three seasons.

Purdue has enjoyed one of the better home field advantages in the conference, under the direction of Joe Tiller in his 12th and final season in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers are 57-22 during his tenure with a 39-28-2 ATS record, including 7-5 against the spread as home underdogs. This year's outfit has a pair of dynamic performers in seniors Curtis Painter under center and Korey Sheets at running back. Painter is third in school history in total yards and Sheets is fifth in rushing yards, with both still climbing higher. They will need huge games for Purdue to pull the upset, as the defense is ranked 109th in total defense, allowing 439 yards per game this season. The Boilers have covered only three of their last 17 October tilts.

The Boilermakers are 4-3 ATS as home underdogs versus ranked teams and 25-14-1 ATS at Ross-Ade Stadium in Big 10 games over the last decade. Tiller's troops are 10-1 in conference openers (8-3 ATS), however have not started league play with this caliber of opposition. This is tricky spot for Penn State not to overlook Purdue with Badgers on deck. The Nittany Lions are 9-2 and 7-4 ATS facing the Boilers, yet have not covered last five Big 10 road openers (1-4 SU).

StatFox Forecaster Purdue covers
StatFox Power Line Penn State by 11
Outplay Factor Penn State by 17


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