WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - After carrying high hopes, Purdue dropped its first four Big Ten games by a combined 155-77 score.
The Boilermakers trailed Minnesota by 37 points last week before losing 44-28.
They're expecting the smallest crowd at Ross-Ade Stadium in four years when they play Penn State today (3:30 p.m., TV-ESPNU).
The opponent and the environment will be quite different for the Nittany Lions than they were last week when they faced unbeaten Ohio State before a sellout crowd of 107,000 at Beaver Stadium.
But they're not worried about a possible emotional letdown.
"We have to come intense every game," cornerback Adrian Amos said. "You can't go into a game taking any team for granted. They're a really good team, and they're explosive. We better match their intensity or we'll get beat."
Penn State (3-1, 5-3) is coming off one of its worst performances of the season in a 35-23 loss to the Buckeyes. The Lions committed nine penalties and allowed four sacks, both tying season highs.
They'll be looking to regain the momentum they built during a five-game winning streak when they meet enigmatic Purdue (0-4, 3-5).
The Boilers lost 20-17 to unbeaten Notre Dame on a field goal in the final seconds and fell 29-22 to Ohio State in overtime after allowing a touchdown and game-tying two-point conversion in the final seconds of regulation.
"This is a good football team, despite their record," guard John Urschel said of Purdue. "We're certain they'll be playing tough, physical football. We have to make sure we're ready for this game."
The Boilers will give sixth-year quarterback Robert Marve his second start of the season after he came off the bench last week and threw for two touchdowns. They also feature speedy backs like Akeem Shavers and Akeem Hunt and receivers like O.J. Ross.
"They're probably the fastest team we've played," Amos said. "From a skill position perspective, Purdue will be one of the most athletic teams we've played."
Purdue was supposed to be stronger on defense, led by tackles Kawann Short and Bruce Gaston. The Boilers, though, rank near the bottom of the Big Ten in points and yards allowed.
"They're two of the premier defensive tackles in the Big Ten," Urschel said. "I think it's going to be a big challenge."
That's how beleaguered Purdue coach Danny Hope looks at the Lions. Hope had high praise for senior quarterback Matt McGloin, who leads the conference with 2,115 passing yards and 16 touchdown passes.
"I'm very impressed with McGloin," Hope said. "I think he's playing very well. I think he plays the position the way it's supposed to be played. He doesn't make many mistakes."
Hope said he also admires the Penn State defense, which ranks fourth in the Big Ten in points and yards allowed and has helped the Lions build a plus-8 turnover ratio, the best in the conference.
"They're very, very tough, particularly up front," he said. "I think their linebackers are as good as any we'll see all year. They're maybe the best set of linebackers in the league.
"Notre Dame had an outstanding front seven, and they've continued to play well, but I think Penn State's front seven is every bit as good."