Best guess at a record when the Boilermakers face Nebraska:
Purdue will most likely be looking at a 2-3 record, with Nebraska holding a 5-0 record. September will be rough for the Boilermakers with games at Cincinnati and Wisconsin in addition to facing Notre Dame and Northern Illinois at home. That might guarantee a less than ideal record when they face the Huskers on October 12th.
The one player you simply must know:
Can we substitute player for head coach? No? Alright then, the single player you must watch on Purdue’s team is senior cornerback Ricardo Allen. In fact, Allen was just named to the Football Writers Association of America watch list. As a three-year starter for Purdue, Allen has racked up an impressive 200 career tackles. That includes 161 solo stops, 10.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Allen will be an important player for Nebraska to watch specifically because he has picked off seven career passes and broken up 11 more. With the Huskers’ strength at putting the ball in the air, Allen will need to be a focus to keep Taylor Martinez out of trouble.
How’s the match-up for Nebraska?:
The match-up arguably swings in Nebraska’s favor. With a new head coach and a battle at the quarterback position, Purdue will have plenty of hurdles to overcome. The most important statistic the Huskers will need to note is the strength of the Boilermakers’ secondary.
The Purdue secondary, in fact, looks to be one of the better ones in the Big Ten. To put it in perspective, the Boilermakers allowed 21 touchdowns through the air in 2012. Ten of those touchdowns came against Marshall and Oklahoma State combined. If you remove those two games (they’re out of the Big Ten, anyway) and also remove an uncharacteristically weak game against Minnesota (the Big Ten’s ninth-ranked passing offense last year), Purdue managed to hold every Big Ten opponent they faced under a 60 percent completion rate and to two or fewer touchdowns. This statistic alone is key for the Nebraska offense. It’s no secret Nebraska has strong receivers and Purdue knows that they can challenge them. It will arguably be the most interesting part of the overall matchup.
It will have been 55 years since the last time Nebraska and Purdue faced each other when October 12th rolls around. Darrell Hazell is a strong head coach (he proved that while at Kent State) and will get Purdue ready to fight. Home field advantage will be a small benefit to the Boilermakers, although there is no denying Bo Pelini’s ability to play in front of a visiting crowd.
There really shouldn’t be much concern that the Huskers will lose, especially because a coaching change always takes time for adjustments. The Boilermakers may make strides in the right direction, but there are still too many question marks to really believe they will make a run for it all. A bowl game for Purdue is still too early to call.
The Boilermakers will test Nebraska in some areas, but the Huskers will ultimately come out victorious.
Nebraska 28 Purdue 7.