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.