As expected it didn’t take long for the Penn State Nittany Lions to take control of the game versus Purdue. Penn state ran the ball 9 times on the opening drive capped by a five yard off-tackle run for Bill Belton. For most of the first half Penn State dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The offense averaged 5.1 yards per rush and the defense allowed a total of 1 rushing yard. Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak were both effective in the first half. Belton has 77 yards rushing on the day and Zwinak is right behind him with 75. As a team Penn State has already rushed for 182 yards on the day. Big plays are the only thing keeping Purdue in the game at halftime. A 38 yard reception from Danny Etling to Cameron Posey set up a 2 yard touchdown pass from Etling to tight end Justin Sinz. Bill Belton continues to struggle holding onto the ball. He coughed a fumble that Purdue recovered on Penn State’s 40 yard line. Belton was bailed out by his defense three plays later when Elting threw an interception to Penn State defensive back Jordan Lucas. After a 22 yard return and a 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty, Penn State capitalized on the short field when Zach Zwinak punched in his second touchdown of the day.
After a Hackenberg touchdown pass to put Penn State up 28-7 with 1:04 left in the first half Penn State was well on it’s way to a blowout. But Sam Ficken, who’s struggled on the day with kickoffs, booted a returnable kick to Purdue’s Raheem Mostert who took it 100 yards for the score. Purdue elected to defer to the second half so they have a chance to climb back into the game with a scoring drive to start the third quarter.