West Lafayette, IN – We are in uncharted territory for Purdue football under the direction of coach Darrell Hazel. Purdue has a chance to go on a two game winning streak and double the amount of wins from last year in the first two weeks. After a promising win against the Western Michigan Broncos, Purdue is looking to build on the momentum they are currently riding. This week’s opponent is the Central Michigan Chippewas. Some of the areas the Purdue struggled in last Saturday look to play a key factor in this weekend’s game as well.
Against the Broncos, Purdue wasn’t able to do much to stop the running game. Purdue got lit up for 213 yards on the ground and one of them was a freshman who had never played a game before and he got 163 yards and 3 touchdowns. the Chippewas are also a heavy running team and like to emphasize running the ball down the opposing teams throat. The Chippewas are lead by Thomas Rawls who ran the ball 25 times for 121 yards and a touchdown. Rawls is what you would call a wrecking ball running back. He is 5’10” but weighs 220 pounds. He will be able to hide behind the lineman and then power his way through the holes. If Purdue doesn’t sure up the run defense, they could be in for some long possessions. In his weekly press conference, Hazel was asked about his run defense and this was his response “I think we did a good job of holding the point last week. I think we gotta do a better job of filling those gaps with the backers and being able to make that one-on-one tackle in the hole. That’s where we got hurt a little bit.But obviously we’re going to put our corners a little bit out there on an island and see how many guys we can get in the box and be able to stop the run.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chippewas tend to run a zone type of defensive scheme which could be a good thing for a young and developing offense. Danny Etling struggled last week and wasn’t really able to feel comfortable in the pocket last week. This week against as zone he should have a little more time. The thing that Etling needs to be aware of is when teams drop back into the zone it can be aware of the fact that it can be misleading what areas people are covering. If the running game is able to keep them honest and Etling can sit back in the pocket and step into his throws I fully expect his accuracy to go up this weekend.
This is another solid game for a young and inexperienced team to get more confidence. This is a very winnable game for Purdue and they will be favored to do so. Kickoff is at noon on Saturday in Ross-Ade Stadium. I fully expect for Purdue to come out and keep the momentum going and start the season off 2-0. Purdue is starting to change the attitude around campus and are starting to leave no doubt.
Nick Konkel is the Purdue Athletics Correspondent for Indiana Sports Report. You can follow him on Twitter @nkonkel and Indiana Sports Report @IndySportsReport.