Penn State is struggling, having lost four of its past seven. But the Nittany Lions figure to continue their trend of loss-win-loss-win-loss-win that they’ve held since starting out 2-0. Why? Purdue is up next on the schedule.
The Boilermakers are among the worst Big Ten teams in recent memory. At 1-8 and 0-5 in the conference, Purdue has lost to teams from the American Athletic and Mid-American conferences this season. Only one of its losses has come by fewer than 14 points, and its lone win was by six points to a FCS opponent that is 1-9 with its only win coming against a Division II opponent that is 2-8. That would be Quincy, a 2-8 D-II team that beat an NAIA opponent for one of its wins.
You get the idea after that silly chain: Purdue is, to be kind, not a very good football team. How bad? Penn State, a team averaging 13.7 points in regulation of its past three games, is a 21-point favorite against the Boilers.
So cheer up, Penn State fans. To get you in a better mood after a listless loss at Minnesota the other day, I present Big Ten rankings for Purdue in a variety of relevant categories. The Boilermakers are no better than 10th at any of them (the only relevant stat they are “good” at is pass defense — fourth — but that is merely a result of them facing by far the least number of passing attempts against, a function of opponents always having such big leads and sitting on the ball in lieu of running up the score)…
Scoring offense: Last (11.8 points/game)
Scoring defense: Second-to-last (37.2)
Total offense: Last (259.1 yards/game)
Total defense: Third-to-last (438.4)
Rushing offense: Last (68.1)
Rushing defense: Second-to-last (239.6)
Pass offense: Third-to-last (191.0)
Pass efficiency: Last (99.4)
Pass efficiency defense: Third-to-last (141.8)
Time of possession: Second-to-last (24:20 average)
Turnover margin: Second-to-last (the only team worse: Penn State!)
Red-zone offense: Last
Red-zone defense: Last
First downs: Last (14.7/game)
Third-down conversion rate: Last (at 30.6 percent, it’s actually worse than even Penn State’s!),
Opponents’ third-down conversions: Last (50.4 percent)
And, just for good measure, I’ll throw in that Purdue is also last in the conference in kickoff coverage and field goal percentage (5 of 10), and second-to-last in sacks (12) and sacks against (28).
But hey, the Boilermakers do lead the Big Ten in one category: Punting! They average 44.2 yards per punt gross and 42.5 net.
It should come as no surprise that Purdue has punted more often than any team in the conference. Its 58 punts are more than twice as many as Ohio State’s.