Three Nittany Lions to Watch Against Purdue

By Barry Leonard on October 3, 2019 at 8:00 am
Apr 13, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) throws a pass during the first quarter of the Blue White spring game at Beaver Stadium. The Blue team defeated the White team 24-7.
Matthew O'Haren- USA TODAY Sports

Penn State is flying high after a 59-0 conference road win against Maryland last week. This week brings a Homecoming matchup with a reeling Purdue team. The Nittany Lions will look to exploit what appears to be a giant mismatch on paper and improve to 5-0 on the year. 

Last week's win saw great performances from guys up and down the roster. Will it be a known name who steps up, or will it be an under-the-radar player who puts his name into the spotlight on Saturday?

As always, a total team effort will be needed for the Nittany Lions to come out victorious. However, the following players deserve to be paid some extra attention during the matchup with the Boilers. 

QB Sean Clifford

I know, I know, Clifford's name is a regular on this list. But after his performance last week, he definitely bears watching again this week. The first-year starter torched the Terps for 398 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown and led the team with 54 rushing yards. 

Clifford is quickly emerging as a key weapon for the Nittany Lions and has shown total control of the offense. 

The Purdue secondary, like most of the team, enters this week's game extremely banged up. Clifford and the quick-strike Penn State passing attack should have no problems exploiting that matchup. 

LB Micah Parsons 

Micah Parsons is an absolute beast -- there's no way around that. Only a sophomore, Parsons could easily be mentioned as one of the top linebackers in the nation. Whenever he's on the field, the talented linebacker has a knack for making big plays everywhere. 

Unfortunately, Parsons couldn't stay on the field last week against Maryland. He recorded two tackles before getting tossed out on a targeting call during the first half.  

Despite missing nearly a full game, Parsons still leads the team with 22 total tackles. He'll certainly be anxious to get back on the field this week and make things difficult for the Purdue offense. 

DL Yetur Gross-Matos

Gross-Matos entered the season with high expectations as one of the best defensive linemen in the country. He enjoyed a breakout season last year and was poised to do even more this year. 

It was a slow start to the season for the former blue-chipper, as teams were paying extra attention to him with double-teams. He's picked it up as of late and is coming off a five-tackle performance last week at Maryland.