Kyle Orton, a prolific passer, and Brandon Kirsch, who averaged a team-high 5.9 yards per carry while also completing 59 percent of his passes, both retumrn at quarterback.
Running backs Joey Harris and Brandon
Jones do more than just take pressure off the passing game they are
dangerous weapons in their own right.
The offensive line needs three new starters, but the defensive front
four returns intact. The Boilers' top three tacklers linebackers Niko
Koutouvides and Landon
Johnson and free safety Stuart Schweigert and top two pass thieves
Koutouvides and cornerback Jacques Reeves are all back.
Best of both: Purdue
led the Big Ten in both total offense and total defense last season.
2K: The 2002 Boilermakers had a 1,000-yard rusher (Joey Harris)
and a 1,000 yard receiver (John Standeford) in the same season for the
first time in school history.
Postseason fixtures: Purdue joins Michigan as
the only schools in the Big Ten to go to bowl games each of the last six
2002 results: 76 (44 Big Ten)
Bowl Game: Beat Washington 34-24 in the Sun
Returning Starters: 8 offense, 9 defense, both kickers
S. 6 Bowling
S. 13 at Wake
S. 20 Arizona
S. 27 Notre
O. 4 Illinois
O. 11 Penn
O. 18 at Wisconsin
O. 25 at Michigan
N. 1 Northwestern
N. 8 Iowa
N. 15 at Ohio
N. 22 at Indiana
Schedule Analysis: Purdue should win its first three games
relatively easily, paying Wake Forest back for last year's loss. The
last five ND-Purdue games have been decided by seven points or less, and
it appears this year's game will be, too. In the Big Ten part of the
slate, Purdue could run the table at home but will have a difficult time
winning more than two on the road since it travels to Ann Arbor and
Final Word: If Purdue can cut down on their turnovers (a league-high
34 last year), the Boilers can make a serious run at the Big Ten
championship. Purdue has a lot of experience on defense and Joe Tiller's
offenses are always explosive. Quarterback Kyle Orton has his top two
receivers back, so if his rebuilt line can give him time, look for
Purdue to move the football and score some points. The close games that
went against Purdue will have to fall the right way in '03 for Purdue to
head to the BCS.
#19: The Purdue Boilermakers
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