Written by Garin Turner
The Purdue Boilermakers (4-6, 2-5 Big Ten-West) need to win their final two games to become bowl eligible for the first time in five years. They'll travel to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes (6-4, 3-4 Big Ten-West) at 2:30 PM CST on the Big Ten Network. This is the last road game of the season for the Boilermakers who are looking for their first win in Iowa City since 2012. This will be the 88th meeting between the two schools with Purdue holding the lead 46-38-3.
The Hawkeyes might have a hard time putting points on the board as Purdue has the 19th ranked scoring defense in the country. The Boilermakers haven't allowed an opponent to score more than two touchdowns in a game since Sept. 23 against the Michigan Wolverines. Purdue's defense has held their last three opponents (then No. 25 Northwestern, Illinois, and Nebraska) to under 100 yards rushing.
Both teams are coming off of loses last week. Iowa lost on the road against a Wisconsin team who's looking to make the College Football Playoffs 38-14. Meanwhile, the Boilermakers lost to Northwestern 23-13.
Elijah Sindelar willl start again for the second straight week after David Blough was injured in the game against the Illini. Sindelar will face a Hawkeye defense who's not far behind Purdue stats wise. Iowa ranks 24th in scoring defense. Sindelar will have to limit his turnovers in this one. He's thrown six interceptions on the year in which he spent a lot of it splitting reps with Blough. Sindelar is 117-210 for 1,315 yards and nine touchdowns.
D.J. Knox has been the primary running back for the Boilermakers after Tario Fuller went down with an injury in week three against the Missouri Tigers. He is the leading rusher with 70 carries for 409 yards and a touchdown. The Boilermakers have made big strides in their rushing attack averaging 147.4 yards per game. That's an improvement of 51.2 yards per game from last year.
The Hawkeyes will have their work cut out for them if Purdue manages to get into the red zone. The Boilermakers are 31-35 scoring this season including a 16-16 start before the streak was stopped in the second quarter against Minnesota back in week five.
When Purdue does go to the air, they'll have to be on the lookout for Josh Jackson who leads the country with seven interceptions with 163 yards on returns. He also has 23 pass deflections which is also good for first in the country. Just in the last two weeks he has five interceptions. Jackson has earned BIG Defensive Player of the Week honors for the last two weeks.
On offense, the play of QB Nate Stanley has opened a lot of eyes. He had a breakout game two weeks ago against Ohio State. He's second in the Big Ten with 22 touchdown passes. That's also tied for 14th in the country. Stanley is the first Iowa QB to throw for 20-plus touchdowns in a season since James Vandenberg did it back in 2011 with 25.
Iowa hits the road next week to take on rival Nebraska in the last game of the regular season.
Purdue finishes their regular season at home against Indiana.
Written by Garin Turner
The Purdue Boilermakers (4-5, 2-4 BIG 10) snapped a three-game losing streak last week defeating the Fighting Illini 29-10. They'll look to build on that as they travel to Evanston, IL to face the No. 25 Northwestern Wildcats (6-3, 4-2 BIG 10) 6 pm CST on ESPN 2 Saturday.
The win came with some bad news, as quarterback David Blough was lost for the season with a leg injury. Fortunately for the Boilermakers, Elijah Sindelar has plenty of game time experience as the Boilermakers have gone with a two-quarterback system for most of the year. On the year, Sindelar is 80 for 150 for 939 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions.
Purdue running back D.J. Knox will shoulder most of the load in the running game. Last week against the Illini he carried the ball 14 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. Knox is the leading rusher for the Boilermakers this year with 387 yards on 64 carries and the one touchdown.
For the Wildcats, they're riding a four-game winning streak including three straight overtime victories which set a new FBS record. Speaking of firsts, this will be the first night game in Wildcat history in the month of November.
Running back Justin Jackson looks to have a big day against the Purdue defense. He has 798 yards on 181 carries with eight touchdowns. Behind him is Jeremy Larkin who has 51 carries for 243 yards with three touchdowns.
The Wildcats will need better quarterback play if they want to continue their win streak and move up in the rankings. Clayton Thorson has thrown 11 interceptions on the year. He does have 10 touchdowns and 2,287 yards passing but the mistakes haven't cost them in the past few weeks.
Despite their records, the teams seem evenly matched. Northwestern is averaging 407 yards a game while Purdue averages 388.9. On the defensive side of the ball, Northwestern gives up 383 yards a game while Purdue gives up 367.3.
This game could very well be another overtime game, the keys are in Sindelar's hand without having to worry about Blough coming in. Purdue also likes to throw in a few trick plays so the Wildcats will have to be on the lookout for that, especially if they do turn the ball over.
A win for the Boilermakers would put them just one away from being bowl eligible. A win for the Wildcats keeps them mathematically alive to win the BIG 10 West depending on the result of the No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 20 Iowa game.
Written by Garin Turner
After good starts to the season, the Purdue Boilermakers (3-5, 1-4 BIG 10) and The Fighting Illini (2-6, 0-5 BIG 10) look to gain some momentum in Saturday's contest in West Lafayette. The Cannon Trophy will also be on the line 11:00 AM CST on the Big Ten Network.
This game marks the 93rd meeting between the schools. The Fighting Illini hold a small margin 44-42-6. Saturday also will be the 65th battle for the Cannon Trophy that dates back to 1943. Purdue leads the series 34-29-2.
For the Illini, they need improved quarterback play. Jeff George Jr. has been inconsistent at best going 79-149 for 1,001 yards with four touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Illini have had three different QBs under center, and none of them have had much success. Chayce Crouch was benched early in the season and hasn't played since then. Freshman QB Cam Thomas has had more success running the ball than passing. Thomas is just 4-15 for 77 yards, no touchdowns in the air and three interceptions. Crouch is 41-77 for 427 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions.
Purdue could have some success running the ball in this one as the Illini are ranked 108th in FBS in rushing defense. D.J. Knox has been the starter since Tario Fuller went down with an injury several weeks ago. Knox has 50 carries for 302 yards. The Illini are giving up 205 yards per game on the ground.
David Blough played the entire game last week in a heartbreaking one-point loss to Nebraska. He has slightly better numbers than Elijah Sindelar. Blough is 86-133 for 909 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Meanwhile, Sindelar is 78-148 for 907 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions.
The Fighting Illini will look to create turnovers in the game. They enter the game having forced 13 on the year which leads the nation in forced fumbles per game at 1.83. Defensive backs Stanley Green and Patrick Nelson, as well as defensive linemen James Crawford, all have two forced fumbles for the Illini.
Part of the growing pains for the Illini this year is their lack of experience. They have started 15 true freshmen this year, more than any team in the nation. Injuries have not been kind to the Illini especially the running back core.
Both teams are trying to stay out of the basement of the BIG 10 West.
Writer - Garin Turner
The Purdue Boilermakers (3-4, 1-3 BIG) return home to Ross-Ade Stadium after a disappointing road loss last week against Rutgers, to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-4, 2-2 BIG) who are coming off a bye week. The game is on Saturday 7:30 CST on the Big Ten Network. This is the sixth game between these two teams, with Nebraska holding the slight edge 3-2 on the series. The last time Nebraska took the field, they suffered a loss to Ohio State.
This is a game that could come down to whichever offense makes the less mistakes as turnovers have been an issue for both teams, especially at the quarterback position. Purdue has gone with a two-quarterback system in all but one game this season, with varying results. Between quarterbacks Elijah Sindelar and David Blough, they've combined for nine interceptions. Blough has slightly better numbers as he's completed 70 of 105 passes, for 745 yards for eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Sindelar on the other hand, has completed 78 of 148 passes, for 907 yards, with six touchdowns and five interceptions.
Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee, who took over for former quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr., has had an up and down year as well. Lee has completed 132 of 240 passes for 1,709 yards with 13 touchdowns but a conference-high 10 interceptions, which is also tied for third highest in the FBS this season.
With the exception of last week, Purdue has struggled to get anything going in the running game since running back Tario Fuller went down to an injury in week three. He's still the leading rusher for the Boilermakers coming into Saturday's game. Running back D.J. Knox had a good game last week against the Rutgers rushing 13 times for 84 yards. Running yards might be tough to come by as Nebraska is ranked 69th in the nation in rushing defense.
The Cornhuskers might struggle to move the ball on the ground as well. Purdue is right behind them in rushing defense at 70th. Running back Devine Ozigbo has 76 attempts for 351 yards and a touchdown on the season. Fellow running back Mikale Wilbon leads the team with three rushing touchdowns on 59 carries for 254 yards.
Lee likes to spread the ball around and his top receiver going into the game is wide reciever Stanley Morgan Jr. Morgan has 33 receptions on the year for 540 yards and six touchdowns. Wide receivers JD Spielman (31 REC, 475 YDS, 2 TD's) and De'Mornay Pierson-El (26 REC, 371 YDS, 4 TD's) have also contributed in the passing game.
For the Boilermakers, they have six different receivers with 10 or more receptions and at least 150 yards receiving. Wide receivers Anthony Mahoungou, Jackson Anthrop and Gregory Phillips all have 20+ catches on the season.
Despite the records of both teams, this is a big game for both, as they're both fighting for at least three more wins to become bowl eligible. Nebraska, with a win would still be second in the BIG 10 West division behind Wisconsin. Purdue is working to stay out of the basement of the West division.
Written by Garin Turner
The Purdue Boilermakers have a lot of questions to answer after a mild upset loss to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, by a score of 14-12. Purdue (3-4, 1-3 BIG) came up short on a two-point conversion late in the game that likely would've sent the game into overtime. For Rutgers, (3-4, 2-2 BIG) this was their first back-to-back win in Big Ten play since joining the conference in 2014.
Purdue went back to the two-quarterback game-plan that they've used for most of the year. Quarterback Elijah Sindelar had two costly interceptions in the game. Sindelar finished the game completing 15 of 29 passes for 138 yards. Fellow quarterback David Blough led the Boilermakers to their only touchdown of the game, throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Anthony Mahoungou, who made a one-handed catch with 25 seconds left to play. On the two-point conversion play, Blough rolled to his right but was under pressure and threw a jump ball that sailed over the heads of everybody and fell to the ground. Blough finished the game completing 8 of 15 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. Mahoungou had four receptions for 47 yards and the score. "This was a disappointing game for us," Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm said.
Purdue's running game was balanced with three different backs over 50 yards. Running back D.J. Knox led the team with13 carries for 84 yards and fellow running backs Markell Jones and Richie Worship also contributed with a combined 18 carries for 119 yards.
Known for their running game, Rutgers was outgained in rushing yards by Purdue, 279-130 but played turnover free football, which was the difference in the game. Purdue outgained Rutgers in total offensive yards with 474 yards compared to217 by Rutgers. Purdue also had the edge in time of possession, possessing the ball for 32:06 compared to 27:54 for Rutgers. Purdue also dominated with 25 first downs while Rutgers only had eight first down. "I thought our performance was very lackluster and subpar and that starts with me," Brohm said.
On paper, it looked like Purdue should've won by a couple of scores but the Rutgers defense held strong when they needed to and that’s the definition of bend but don't break defense.
It doesn't get any easier for the Boilermakers as they return home next week to face Nebraska. If Purdue can cut down on the turnovers and score points, while forcing some Nebraska turnovers they could very well come away with a victory.
Rutgers will travel to Ann Arbor to face the Michigan Wolverines in a game that at the beginning of the year may have screamed blowout but with the play by Michigan's offense, Rutgers might have a shot.
Written by Garin Turner
This week sees the Purdue Boilermakers (3-3, 1-2 BIG) traveling to Piscataway, New Jersey to face off against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-4, 1-2 BIG). This game marks the first matchup between these two teams. Last week, Purdue fell short against No. 7 Wisconsin by a score of 17-9. Rutgers picked up a rare road victory last week as they defeated the Fighting Illini, 35-24. It was Rutgers’ first road victory in the BIG since 2015. The game will be at 11 AM CST on the Big Ten Network.
For the first time this season, Purdue used one quarterback last week against Wisconsin, instead of the two-quarterback system they have used for most of the season. Quarterback Elijah Sindelar played the entire game. On the year, Sindelar has completed 63 of119 passes, for 769 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. He's been without leading rusher, running back Tario Fuller, for the last three weeks due to an injury. Despite that, the Boilermakers are averaging 124.5 yards rushing a game. D.J. Knox has been the primary running back in Fuller's absence and has 28 carries for 152 yards on the season so far.
Despite using a two-quarterback system for most of the year, the Purdue receiving corps have done a nice job. Wide receiver Anthony Mahoungou, tight end Cole Herdman, wide reciever Jackson Anthrop and tight end Brycen Hopkins all have 200 plus yards receiving on the season. Along with fellow wide receivers Gregory Phillips and Terry Wright, they all have double digits catches on the year. Purdue has 126 catches as a team for 1,481 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The Boilermakers run defense will be tested as Rutgers are ranked 58th in the nation in run offense, averaging 174 yards a game. In contrast, Purdue’s run defense is ranked 84th allowing 179 yards rushing a game. Running back Gus Edwards leads the way on the ground for Rutgers with 93 carries for 393 yards with four touchdowns. Rutgers running backs as a whole, have 238 carries for 1,044 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season.
Rutgers will need better quarterback play in this game. It will be interesting to see who gets the start. Quarterback Kyle Bolin has been the starter all year but was pulled in last week’s game against Illinois for quarterback Giovanni Rescigno. Rescigno responded by completing 5 of10 passes for 89 yards, while adding 41 yards on the ground on seven carries. For the year, Bolin has completed 73 of 133 for 711 yards with three touchdowns and six interceptions.
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