Penn State holds off Purdue 23-18

Swirling winds had flags swirling atop Beaver Stadium with hot

dog and candy wrappers blowing all over the field.

Purdue kicker Carson Wiggs wasn’t going to use the weather

conditions as an excuse after missing a 44-yard field goal and

extra-point attempt, and sending a kickoff out-of-bounds in a 23-18

loss Saturday to Penn State.

Special teams miscues overshadowed Purdue’s offensive showing

against Penn State’s solid defense and helped thwart the

Boilermakers’ efforts to spoil homecoming weekend in Happy

Valley.

”I know a lot of guys were talking about it, coaches were

talking to the quarterbacks about it. I really don’t worry about

it, just relax, have a good time, take my mind off it,” Wiggs said

about the wind. Penn State (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) said the wind gusts

were over 40 mph around campus.

”No matter what the conditions are, I mean, I’m still going to

have a warmup so I’ll figure it out then,” Wiggs said.

It wasn’t all bad news for Purdue (3-3, 1-1) on special

teams.

Raheem Mostert’s 71 yard kickoff return to the Penn State 26

helped set up Caleb TerBush’s 14-yard touchdown pass to O.J. Ross

with 4:02 left in the third quarter to draw within 13-12.

But after missing the 44-yarder in the first quarter, Wiggs’

tough afternoon got worse.

His extra-point attempt banged off the right upright, preventing

a tie. Wiggs said afterward he thought he heard a whistle before

the kick, potentially from the student section.

”So I don’t know, it’s a little bit of a distraction on my way

to the ball, but there’s no reason,” Wiggs said. ”I should’ve

been able to put that in.”

The ensuing kickoff from Wiggs landed out-of-bounds for a

penalty that gave Penn State the ball at its own 40. Matt McGloin,

coming on in relief again for Rob Bolden in the Nittany Lions’

two-quarterback system, set up Redd’s third-quarter touchdown run

with three straight long passes for first downs to the 9.

Redd scored from 9 yards out with 2:37 in the third on a

bruising run, backing over a defender and bowling him over at the

goal line for the touchdown. He finished with 131 yards on 28

carries.

Akeem Shavers had a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:08 left but

Purdue was stopped on a 2-point conversion attempt to keep the

deficit at 20-18.

Chaz Powell returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards to the 3, but

an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed Penn State back, and the

Nittany Lions settled for field goal with 6:24 left and a

five-point lead.

Coach Danny Hope said he needed to look at film on special

teams.

”I don’t think it was all of special teams, just some guys on

special teams,” Hope said. ”Coming into the ball game, I thought

special teams would be our edge. If we were to win today, I thought

it would be our advantage. But it wasn’t.”

The homecoming weekend crowd breathed a collective sigh of

relief following an otherwise uncharacteristically porous

performance for the defense. Behind a strong running game, Purdue

gashed Penn State for 344 yards – roughly 90 more than the Nittany

Lions’ season average entering the day.

Coach Joe Paterno’s worries of a letdown following an emotional

13-3 win last week over Iowa nearly came true. Still recovering

from an injured right shoulder and pelvis suffered after getting

bowled over in practice Aug. 7, Paterno coached from the press

box.

Anthony Fera’s 69-yard punt to the 2 put Purdue in a tough spot

for a potential game-winning drive with 2:36 left. Forced to go for

it on fourth down, a tipped pass from Caleb TerBush was snagged by

Stupar for the linebacker’s second pick of the day.

TerBush finished 12 of 25 passing for 162 yards with two

interceptions, while Ralph Bolden led the Boilermakers’ ground game

with 97 yards for 13 carries. Shavers added 54 yards on 13

carries.