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Will Purdue shock the college football world Thursday night against Penn State?
The Nittany Lions and Boilermakers meet Thursday night at 8:00 EST in West Lafayette to get the 2022 campaign underway, and people seem to think Purdue is primed and ready to pull off an upset.
Let me go ahead and just crush any hope and optimism people might have for an upset right now. It’s not going to happen.
All the hype surrounding Purdue centers on QB and NFL prospect Aidan O’Connell, who threw for 3,712 yards and 28 touchdowns last season.
Incredibly impressive stats. There’s no doubt about it, but once you dig into the numbers for O’Connell and Purdue you can see one very concerning issue.
When he plays a solid defense, O’Connell struggles in a huge way.
In 2021, the best defenses he played were Wisconsin and probably Notre Dame. In those two games, he threw for one touchdown, five interceptions, 304 yards and the Boilermakers were outscored by a combined 31 points in the two matchups.
Yes, against average or bad defenses, O’Connell puts up gaudy numbers. Under pressure from good defenses, Purdue stumbled.
While I don’t think Penn State has a defense that can match Wisconsin last season, it should be much better than what Purdue saw in 2021.
That means there’s a good chance Aidan O’Connell struggles. It’s one thing to dominate Indiana. It’s totally different when it comes to dominating a defense with a pulse.
Picking the Boilermakers to beat Penn State might be a sexy upset pick, but I think it’s more likely Penn State wins by double digits than it is they lose.