West Lafayette – As the Purdue Football team gets closer to their season opener against the Louisville Cardinals, to say they are upset minded would be an understatement. A Boilermaker upset of the Cardinals would rank as one of the biggest in program history. Now they have upset the teams with a higher ranking, such as top ranked Notre Dame and Michigan State in years past. This however could top all of those. Between beating a Heisman trophy winner and the fact that the cupboard wasn’t exactly full when Head Coach Jeff Brohm took over the program. If the Boilers look to shock the college football world, they’ll need to do these three things.
Purdue, from their head coaching to the training staff has to overcome the emotion of a primetime neutral site game. It’s easy for players to get caught in the moment. The bright lights, new season, an anticipation of a new coach can cause the Boilers to fall apart. Speaking of a new coach, he will have to keep his decision making in check. Coach Brohm, a Louisville player and Coach Petrino disciple, has to make sure he doesn’t overthink decisions during the course of the game. If the Boilers can handle that, it will give them an advantage early.
The Run Game
For Purdue, it will be important to not only get the run game going, but stopping the run. Obviously this is a staple to any successful football team. However with Louisville, at least last season, that hurt them in games. When the defense was giving up yards on the ground, it started to make the whole team fall apart. In their final two games of the season against Kentucky and LSU they gave up 229 and 177 yards respectively. If Purdue can get the run game going it won’t only keep the defense off balance, but will also keep pressure off of David Blough. For the Boilers defense, keeping the running game in check will be huge. Lamar Jackson was a decent thrower for Louisville, but was incredible running the ball, keeping the defense in check. If Purdue can keep him contained, and make them beat him with his arm, the Boilers chances of winning go up exponentially.
Win the Battle in the Trenches
Purdue has to, without a doubt, win the battle in the trenches, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Blough got hit and hurried too many times last season, resulting in too many interceptions. Also experience behind the QB is lacking, and the last thing Purdue needs is a brand new quarterback going up against the No. 16 team in the nation. It was seen last season that when the offensive line keeps Blough clean, he throws the ball incredibly well. Kirk Barron is the anchor to the offensive line that has been shifting a lot through camp. It seems now as though things have settled down and there is a solid group of five that can keep Blough in one piece.
If the Boilermakers want to be Spoilermakers in a short two days, the Boilers will need to do everything perfect. If they start with these three keys, the Boilermakers might just have a turnaround season sooner than some thought.