West Lafayette – The Purdue Football team had a much needed bye week after another troubling loss against Cincinnati. It allowed the Boilers to get refocused but also get one of it’s most important pieces healthy, Markell Jones. Next up for the Boilermakers is the Nevada Wolfpack. The Boilers are a 5.5 point favorite going into Saturday’s match-up with the Wolfpack. It will be important for the Boilers to get the win to avoid a 1-2 start heading in to the conference season. The Wolfpack are 2-1 on the season with their only loss coming against Notre Dame. In their last outing the Wolfpack beat Buffalo 38-14.
The Wolfpack average 26 points per game, while the Boilermakers are allowing 31 points. Leading the Nevada offense is Tyler Stewart. Stewart is 43 of 67 (64%), totaling 462 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Stewart isn’t the only QB Nevada will play however. Ty Gangi will most likely see action on Saturday. Gangi is mostly used as an option QB. Head Coach Darrell Hazell said the Boilers will need to be sound on defense and maintain discipline.
Other than Gangi, the Wolfpack have a very formidable player at running back in James Butler. Butler has 347 yards on 66 carries (5.3 yards per carry), and five touchdowns. The Boilers have been gashed in the first two games of the season on the ground, it will be important for Purdue to get their rush defense tightened up. Look for the Boilers take one of their extra defense backs and put them in the box to shore up the one.
Receiving passes from Stewart is Wyatt Demps. Demps has nine catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns. It’s apparent that the Wolfpack like to keep the ball on the ground, but they also like to share the receiving yards. Purdue will also need to be better on third down. The Boilers gave up 11 straight third down conversions against the Bearcats.
Defensively the Wolfpack give up 36.7 points per game while the Boilers put up 31 points per game offensively. In total the Wolfpack average giving up 416 yards per game. The Boilers will have to deal with talented linebacker Alex Bertrando. Bertrando has 28 tackles and one tackle for loss.
Looking at this game by the numbers, it’s completely possible that this could be a shootout in Ross-Ade Stadium Saturday afternoon. Both defenses have left something to be desired, even though the Wolfpack edge the Boilers in defensive points per game. Things will be better for the Boilermakers if they can get a win Saturday. 2-1 in non-conference would slow the bleeding a bit after a poor showing two weeks ago.