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(1-9, 0-6 Big Ten)
University Park, Pa. Beaver Stadium Attendance: 96,491
(6-4, 3-3 Big Ten)
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Running back Zach Zwinak (Frederick, Md.) matched his career high with three touchdowns and wide receiver Allen Robinson (Richland, Mich.) continued his ascension of the Penn State leaderboard, as the Nittany Lion football team topped Purdue, 45-21, at Beaver Stadium Saturday afternoon. Penn State improved to 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten, while the Boilermakers fell to 1-9 and 0-6, respectively.
With three rushing touchdowns, Zwinak pushed his season total to 12 to become the 16th different Nittany Lion, and first since Daryll Clark and Evan Royster in 2008, to rush for at least 10 touchdowns in a season. The Frederick, Md., native, who also moved into a tie for ninth place for single-season rushing scores, finished the game with his ninth career 100-yard game (149 yards) on 26 carries.
Robinson broke his own Penn State single-season record with his 78th reception of the season on an 18-yard, second-quarter grab. The Penn State standout hauled in eight passes to move into a tie for third place (Derrick Williams) on Penn State's career receiving list (161).
Freshman Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va.) completed 16-of-23 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns (one rush), while running back Bill Belton (Sicklerville, N.J.) ran for a five-yard touchdown and freshman Adam Breneman (Mechanicsburg) collected an eight-yard grab for six. The Nittany Lions out gained Purdue, 501-264, including a 289-41 margin on the ground.
The Penn State defense forced three turnovers, while six Nittany Lions contributed on sacks. Safety Adrian Amos (Baltimore, Md.) led the contingent with eight tackles, 2.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks, while Austin Johnson (Galloway, N.J.) and Mike Hull (Canonsburg) recovered fumbles. Linebacker Jordan Lucas (New Rochelle, N.Y.) corralled his third interception of the season in the second quarter.
The Nittany Lions recorded touchdowns on four of their five first-half possessions en route to a 28-14 halftime lead. Belton punched in a five-yard touchdown run during the game's opening drive to give the Nittany Lions a 7-0 lead. After a six-yard completion to Jesse James (Glassport) netted a first down inside the red zone, Belton's third straight rush went for six with 9:11 left in the opening stanza.
After forcing a three and out, Penn State doubled its advantage during its second offensive series. Zwinak barreled into the end zone with 3:03 left in the opening frame to cap off a 10-play, 66-yard drive. The Frederick, Md., native rushed six times for 37 yards on the possession.
In the second quarter, Purdue halved the deficit just 1:12 into the stanza. The Boilermakers connected on passes of 38 and 12 yards to help move the ball down the field before Justin Sinz corralled a two-yard touchdown reception.
Following Lucas' interception, Zwinak gave the Nittany Lions a 21-7 lead on the ensuing possession. The running back, who ran for all 33 Nittany Lion yards gained on the drive, plowed into the end zone from a yard out with 9:35 left to play.
Breneman collected his first career touchdown grab with 1:18 left in the opening half. Facing a third-and-goal from the eight-yard line, Hackenberg located the tight end, who stretched the ball across the goal line, as Penn State extended its advantage to 28-7.
After the Nittany Lions' score, Raheem Mostert returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to close the gap to 28-14.
Purdue scored on the second half's opening drive to make it a seven-point game. After Danny Etling connected with DeAngelo Yancey for a 45-yard gain, the quarterback ran for an 11-yard touchdown run two plays later with 11:19 left in the third quarter.
With 8:51 left in the third, Sam Ficken (Valparaiso, Ind.) halted the Boilermakers' 14-0 run with a 29-yard field goal. The six-play drive, which pushed the Nittany Lion lead to 31-21, was highlighted by a career-long 58-yard catch from James. The throw also marked Hackenberg's longest completion of his young career.
Following a Nittany Lion fumble recovery, Penn State executed a six-play, 40-yard drive en route to a 38-21 advantage. Hackenberg opened the drive with three straight completions for 33 yards before Zwinak ran the final 17, capped off by a five-yard touchdown run with 5:21 left in the third.
With 4:27 to play, Hackenberg ran for a four-yard touchdown to account for the 45-21 final.
The Nittany Lions will return to action Saturday, Nov. 23 when they host Nebraska in their home finale. Kickoff and TV coverage has not been announced.