Tonight I’m hopping into a rental with two other Penn State alums and cruising on 80 West for four odd hours to make the trek from NYC to State College, PA. It’s Homecoming, for the 92nd time in Penn State’s history, and the third “homecoming” in my history (as an alumni). Other friends of mine are converging from different corners of Pennsylvania in the name of coming home – to the place where we met and spent years together, happy in Happy Valley.
Football starts early tomorrow (tailgating breakfast sandwiches.. oh yeah) for 5-1 Penn State and the visiting 3-2 Purdue Boilermakers: kick-off at 12 PM. Penn State has enjoyed plenty of Homecoming-game success over the years, with an overall record of 65-21-5, and a Joe Paterno record of 39-6. The Nittany Lions are looking to keep that winning feeling against Purdue and its noteworthy ground game (specifically RBs Ralph Bolden and Akeem Shavers, who have combined for seven TDs).
Last week, Penn State dropped Iowa, while Purdue had no trouble with Minnesota, winning 45-17. The obvious match-up to watch for is Penn State’s bruising defense vs. Purdue’s take-care-of-the-football offense. In its five games this season, Purdue has only turned the ball over four times. The nasty Nittany Lion D, on the other hand, has forced 14 turnovers in six games.
Stat that doesn’t really matter: Purdue has not played at Beaver Stadium since 2007.
Non-stat that matters to me: I have not been in Beaver Stadium since September 18, 2010.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES:
-Big Ten match-up (with new Spartan uniforms), #11 Michigan at #23 Michigan State, 12 PM kick-off
-Offensively explosive #6 Oklahoma State visits #22 Texas, 3:30 PM kick-off
-Can Wake cause another upset? Unranked Wake Forest hosts #19 Virginia Tech for a 6:30 PM ACC battle
-10:15 PM (ET, obv) Pac 12 match-up between #18 Arizona St. at #9 Oregon