STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer took another hard sack then dragged himself to his feet. He tried to shake the pain out of his right arm before taking a slow walk to his team's locker room.
The first half was mercifully over. No. 12 Penn State cruised to a 35-7 rout of the Boilermakers, but the punishment continued in the second.
The Nittany Lions (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) rolled behind 10 sacks, one shy of the program's single-game record. They held the Boilermakers (1-4, 0-2) to 104 total yards – including minus-19 rushing. A week after shutting out Maryland, the Nittany Lions were dominant again.
“Defensively we're doing some special things right now,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “We're playing championship level defense right now, and we've been doing it for a number of weeks.”
Playing without starting quarterback Elijah Sindelar and star receiver Rondale Moore, the Boilermakers didn't cross midfield until their sixth possession midway through the second.
Plummer finished with 119 yards on 13-for-27 passing. He was sacked on two of Purdue's final three plays of the first half. He was replaced in the fourth quarter with Aidan O'Connell.
“We got handled early,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “It was good to see us improve as the game went on.”
Purdue finally broke Penn State's seven-quarter shutout streak when Plummer connected with Amad Anderson Jr. on a 15-yard touchdown pass. Anderson's catch made it 28-7 in the second quarter.
The Boilermakers were missing more than Sindelar and Moore in this game and they'll likely be adding more names to the injury report that included eight names earlier this week.
Linebacker Cornell Jones left the game in the first quarter with a leg injury, though was able to return. Meanwhile, defensive tackle Anthony Watts suffered a right arm injury and did not return.
To make matters worse, cornerback Cam Allen was ejected for targeting in the first quarter.
Sean Clifford completed 20 of 29 passes for 264 yards with three touchdowns and ran for another score for Penn State. The offense scored on its first four drives and that was enough.