West Lafayette – After a convincing win against the Missouri Tigers, the Purdue Boilermakers head home for homecoming. For the Boilermakers however, it is another week, another test. The Boilermakers will take on the No. 8 MichiganWolverines. The Wolverine defense is one of the best in the nation ranking fifth, including a Big Ten leading 13 sacks.
Who: No. 8 Michigan Wolverines (3-0) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (2-1)
When: Saturday September 23, 2017 4:00 p.m.
Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
How: Fox Sports
As good as the Wolverine defense has been this season, the offense has left a lot to be desired. Leading the Wolverine offense is QB Wilton Speight. Speight is currently 42-77 (54%), 571 yards, 3 touchdowns, and two interceptions. Speight has had an up and down season at best, including getting bench during the middle of the season opener with Florida. The leading receiver for the is Tariq Black. Unfortunately for the Wolverines Black suffered a break in his foot and is expected to be out for the rest of the season. Most of the receivers behind Black are true freshman, which could be an advantage for the Boilers.
Ty Isaac leads the rushing attack for the Wolverines, carrying the ball 47 times for 336 (7.1 ypc). Offensively the Wolverines 41st on the ground but an abysmal 84th through the air and 72nd in total offense. Purdue’s improved defense will have to get to the QB and get stops if they want a chance in the game. The offense has been horrible in the red zone, only recording one touchdown in ten trips. Michigan failed to score an offensive touchdown against Air Force and only scored a touchdown at all because of a Donovan Peoples-Jones punt return.
The Wolverine defense is why Michigan is still ranked in the top 10 nationally. They rank ninth against the run, and seventh against the pass. They also do a good job getting to the QB forcing 13 sacks on the season. Leading the Wolverine defense is Devin Bush. The outside linebacker has 25 tackles, 16 solo, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks. As good as the defense has been on paper, it has had some things work in its favor. Florida was reeling after suspended 10 players for its opener. Against Cincinnati and Air Force, both teams were still in the game way later than it should have been.
Flip to the Purdue offense, who has been as innovative in recent memory, could pose problems for Michigan. Purdue’s offense will be without a doubt the toughest offense Michigan has faced to date. What also helps Purdue is they could go fairly plain against Missouri and not show their hand to early.
Purdue has a monumental opportunity against what will most likely be a sellout crowd at Ross-Ade Stadium, the first since November of 2008. A lot of things are going to have to go right for Purdue if they want to shock the world, but as we have seen this season, anything is possible.
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