West Lafayette – Since December, the Purdue Football team, it’s players, it’s fans, and the university have been awaiting September 2, 2017. The cold of winter, the freshness of spring, and the dog days of summer lead to the first Saturday in September. The reason why is because it will officially begin the start of the Jeff Brohm era. Up until this point, it had been talk and playing against each other. Now they finally get to hit someone in a different uniform.
Who: #16 Louisville Cardinals vs. Purdue Boilermakers
When: September 2, 2017 7:30 p.m.
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
For Purdue it’s not just the opening game of the season, or even the opening game of a coaching era. It’s the beginning of a possible resurgence to a program stuck in mediocrity for nearly a decade. The program has never been right since Joe Tiller left West Lafayette. The failings of Danny Hope and Darrell Hazel exacerbated the need for a coach that was innovative, and one that didn’t have the initials DH. Jeff Brohm brings that as he had one of the most high flying offenses in the country while at Western Kentucky; averaging 44 points per games over the course of three seasons. It will be important for Purdue to show that type of offensive performance early, as their opening opponent is as tough as in recent memory.
Purdue opens the season against the 16th ranked team in the nation and the country’s defending Heisman trophy winner in Lamar Jackson, among a boat load of other accolades. Jackson as a passer had statistics like Purdue’s David Blough. Jackson threw the ball had 230 completions on 409 throws (56.2%) for 3,543 yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Besides the intersections everything is fairly similar.
What made Jackson stand out is his running. Jackson had a mind boggling 1,571 yards on the ground with an additional 21 touchdowns. 51 touchdowns and over 5,000 yards of total offense made him one the most electric players college football had seen since Tim Tebow.
What hurts the Cardinals is there lack of offensive line continuity. The unit gave up a whopping 47 sacks and 83 tackles for loss. For a team that has a lack of depth behind their Heisman trophy winner, it could be problematic for them.
The defense for the Cardinals returns nine starters from last season, which showed promise early but fell off late as the season marched on. They lost they top tackler from last season in Keith Kelsey and safety Josh Harvey-Clemons. The biggest problem for the Boilermakers will be defensive end Drew bailey would leads a line is talented at all spots along the two-deep. The Boilers will need to get their running game going against the Cardinals. The Cardinals, in their losses, broke down on defense when the defense couldn’t stop the run.
Another added wrinkle to the opener is Coach Brohm’s connection to Louisville. Not only did the quarterback have a successful career with the Cardinals, he’s also is a member of the Bobby Petrino coaching tree. This can either help or hurt the Boilermakers. It will either give the Boilers an edge in knowing the Cardinals’ tendencies, or the team will be so amped up that silly mistakes will pile up.
For the Boilermaker nation, it’s about time the season start. A season of unknowns, how it will be’s, anticipation will finally come together in Lucas Oil Stadium. The Boilers might not pull out the upset against the Cardinals, but keeping it close could show promise for the 2017 season.
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