Lincoln, NE – If hope springs eternal in spring I sometimes wonder what happens in the fall. For Purdue Boilermaker fans, many are hoping that hope train still has some left in her. After an inspiring win against then #23 Boston College, the Boilers travel into the sea of red to face the 0-3 Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Cornhuskers are licking their wounds after an embarrassing 56-10 loss to Michigan last week. With the struggles that Nebraska is facing very early on in the Scott Frost era, Purdue finds themselves four point favorites.
Immediately after the loss to Michigan, Frost made the comment “we get a game we can win“. This of course referring to their matchup against Purdue. Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm was asked to respond to Frost’s comments and said “Everything that is said gets heard, and our team needs to respond.” Calling out a team when you are 0-3 is putting yourself out on a limb. You can make the claim that he was caught up in the heat of the moment. Angry that in their first Big Ten game they were thoroughly beaten in every aspect of the game. While Purdue is nowhere near a dominant team and undefeated, they have been close in every game and did beat a ranked opponent.
The Purdue offense has come to life in a big way. Quarterback David Blough appears to be fully entrenched as the starter and not looking over his shoulder. Elijah Sindelar seems to still be dealing with the undisclosed injury he suffered two weeks ago. The extended play has allowed Blough to really get in sync with his weapons. Rondale Moore was recently added to the Biletnikoff award watch list for the top receiver in the country. Averaging 125 yards from scrimmage each game on nearly nine touches per game. Outside receivers Isaac Zico and Terry Wright are finally starting to make plays after barely seeing the field last year. The offensive line, while a little banged up, is giving Blough plenty of time to make decisions instead of running for his life. This is a top half of the conference offense right now. Defenses might be able to eliminate one or two of the play makers but that just opens opportunities for others. I didn’t even mention the tight ends that are mismatches for any linebacker or corner to cover.
last weeks win was certainly thanks to the offenses ability to move the ball. However, the reason they were put in so many positive situations is because of the inspired play of the defense. Led by Junior linebacker Markus Bailey, Purdue appeared to figure things out. Four interceptions, multiple three and outs and four sacks was the icing on the cake. Nick Holt the defensive coordinator for Purdue said they were going to be more aggressive and boy oh boy did it show. Nebraska has only passed for 500 yards in the three games they’ve played this season. If you remember Blough had 572 in one game just two weeks ago. This is very clearly a rebuild for Frost and the Huskers whether they want to admit that or not. Neither quarterback has been effective and when they faced actual competition in Michigan they crumbled.
Now getting beaten like Nebraska did and hearing their coach make the type of comments he did can be powerful motivators. Nebraska still has one of the best environments in college football. 80,000 fans all dressed in red from head to toe. They will want to prove that last week was a one off game that won’t happen again against a skilled, but less talented than Michigan, Purdue Boilermakers squad. Purdue needs this game in order to keep their momentum rolling into the bye week. This might be one of the best games on Saturday where the teams are a combined 1-6. If you’re a Purdue fan what you want to see from them this weekend is a team that looks like the better team and finishes like the better team. It is a rare feat to be a road favorite in Lincoln and they need to take advantage. Surprisingly enough Purdue is in 3rd place in the Big Ten West and winning this game keeps them in contention. This should be an exciting game and be sure to stay tuned to the press conference no matter the result because who knows what could be said from two fiery coaches.