This week's impact player: Bill Belton, sophomore tailback
The Boilermakers boast a strong 1-2 punch at defensive tackle with Kawann Short and Bruce Gaston, so running up the middle with Zach Zwinak might no longer be the best option. Purdue's defensive strength is between the tackles, so Penn State must be a little creative -- and that's where Belton comes in.
Belton is a speedy player who could see more pitches Saturday, or at least runs attacking the defensive ends. Donovan Smith is no longer sporting a club for a cast but now wears protective gear where his fingers are visible -- so this outside rushing game can only be improved. Ryan Isaac and Ryan Russell are both tall, 6-foot-5 ends, but don't possess the ability of Purdue's defensive tackles. (Russell has a lot of potential, though.)
Belton could see more of a workload this week, similar to the Iowa game. Overall, Purdue is not a good defense -- and it's allowing nearly 200 rushing yards a game anyway. Belton has had mixed success in this injury-shortened season, but he matches up well against the Boilermakers.
His hands out of the backfield and his ability to sprint around the outside should be invaluable to Penn State this weekend. He's the player to watch out for, and it would surprise NittanyNation if he didn't have at least one long run.