Lori Schmidt

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Purdue Preview

Purdue lost its first three games by a combined total of 91-83, and won their next three 118-48. 

Things seemed to turn around against then 23rd ranked Boston College, and--granted the two victories that followed were against winless Nebraska and 3-3 Illinois--they still haven't looked back.  

That 39-point victory over the Fighting Illini, in fact, was Purdue's largest Big Ten road win since 1997.

A huge reason for that is the combination of senior quarterback David Blough (68.4 completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) and true freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore, who have the Boilermakers ranked 7th nationally in passing offense, averaging over 330 yards per game. 

Now Moore isn't the only receiver who makes plays for Purdue. Isaac Zico and Jared Sparks each have 20 catches, and tight end Brycen Hopkins has recorded 19. Nor is Moore only proficient as a receiver. He's third on the team in rushing yards, even though he has only carried the ball nine times. (That's what averaging 15.44 yards a carry will do for you.) Plus, he handles kick and punt returns. 

He's featured in some of the club's trick plays, and Purdue is known for them. 

“We’ve seen them a lot, obviously,” said Ohio State safety Jordan Fuller. “It’s all about just doing your job and keeping your eyes in the right spot. It’s definitely been an emphasis.”

And even though they are an explosive passing offense, ranked third nationally in plays of 40 or more yards, they are still effective in short yardage situations. They have converted on all 13 of their opportunities on third and one this season. 

As impressive as their ability to throw has been, their ability to stop the throw has been a struggle. They are ranked 107th in the country and allowing 267.5 passing yards per contest. 

There is one way in which the Boilermakers defense mirrors the offense, however, and that is in their performance on third down. Purdue only allows opponents to convert 29.27 percent of the time, which puts them just outside the top ten in that category. 

Of course, rack up a big play and you can avoid a third down situation all together, and Purdue has given up four plays of 50+ yards. (Ohio State has had their own issues in this area and has given up six.) 

The playmakers Purdue has on defense tend to come from their linebacking corp, which includes Columbus, Ohio native Markus Bailey. He has 5.5 tackles for loss, second only to fellow linebacker Cornel Jones' 11.0 TFLs. 

Extra Points:

  • The Boilermakers are 4-3 in their last seven games vs. the Buckeyes in West Lafayette.
  • Purdue has four different receivers who have caught passes of 30 yards or more (Brycen Hopkins, Isaac Zico, Rondale Moore, Terry Wright).
  • The best quarter for the Boilers this season has been the second, in which they have outscored opponents by a combined total of 67-34.

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