Purdue Preview: Is There a Glimmer of Hope?

I am not sure what is worse: sitting in a one bedroom apartment for four straight days praying to the porcelain god, or thinking about the various ways that Purdue could dismantle the Illini defense on Saturday morning in Champaign, IL. Since I sat at home violently ill for the last four days, all I had to do was thinking about this Illini football team and the different ways it could beat Purdue. I came with up quite a few interesting ways it could happen, including a random deer sighting on the roads between West Lafayette, IN and Champaign, IL, but there was one plausible explanation as to why Illinois can win this game: Kyle Orton is not infallible in Big Ten play.

Now I know you, along with Ron Turner, are thinking that I am a complete and utter loon. I can tell you without hesitation that I am 100% sane, I just visited my fourth psychiatrist in the last forty eight hours and they all kicked me out of the offices. So, I know for sure that I am not insane, or they would have at least tried to treat me. So hear me out on this one.

Let's just take a look at Kyle Orton's career at Purdue and the numbers he has amassed.

Comps Attempts Pct. Yards TDs INTs
2001 Non-Conference Season
1 4 25.0 40 0 0
2001 Big Ten Season
68 138 49.3 653 2 3
2002 Non-Conference Season
93 168 55.4 1251 9 2
2002 Big Ten Season
99 149 1006 66.4 3 7
2003 Non-Conference Season
100 164 1100 61.0 10 2
2003 Big Ten Season
151 250 1785 60.4 5 5
Totals - Out of Conference Play
194 336 2391 57.7 19 4
Totals - Big Ten Conference Play
318 537 3444 59.2 10 15
Career Total Before This Season
512 873 5835 58.6 29 19

What is the one thing that you quickly look at and see from these numbers? The first thing I see is that Kyle Orton has put up some gaudy statistics in his career at Purdue, and that is not even including his nine touchdowns and zero interceptions this season against Syracuse and Ball State. When you add those numbers in, the trends that pokes it head out of these numbers becomes even more evident. Are you still asking what that trend is that I see that gives me a little glimmer of hope?

It is simple; Kyle Orton has struggled in Big Ten Conference play as Purdue's signal caller. He has thrown half as many touchdown passes in twice the number of games, while throwing just under four times the number of interceptions.

This Illini fans is my glimmer of hope for this afternoon's Big Ten opener! Kyle Orton has a touchdown to interception ratio in Big Ten play of 2:3! I am grasping for straws to find anything that can help me find a win for my football team, anything, and this is it.

All I need to do to lose my glimmer of hope is look at some other numbers that are available to me, mostly relating to the Purdue passing offense this season and the Illini passing defense. They are not pretty; in fact they are downright ugly.
  • Purdue has thrown for 702 yards (in two games) and ten touchdowns with zero interceptions.
  • Illinois has allowed 771 yards (in three games) and five touchdowns to four interceptions.
  • Purdue has rushed for 468 yards and 5.6 yards per carry and five touchdowns.
  • Illinois has allowed 481 yards and 4.4 yards per carry and five touchdowns.
Neither Purdue nor Illinois have played what any one would consider a good football team either. Sure, UCLA is better than expected this season, and their running back Maurice Drew decided to have a career game against Washington last weekend when he averaged an astronomical 12.4 yards per carry and five touchdowns. It is apparent he decided that having his two career day's rushing against Illinois was not something he wanted highlighted on his resume, so he decided to take it out on the Washington Huskies and shatter all the records he had set against the Illini in the last two seasons.

So, when you take my glimmer of hope: Kyle Orton's penchant for pissing his pants when the opposing team has the Big Ten logo stitched into their shirts, and the Illini's defenses habits of missing tackles and reads, you could have one interesting football game.

Could all the stars align right for the Illini defense in Champaign and the Illini hand Joe Tiller his first loss in a Big Ten Conference opener in his eight year career at Purdue?

Yes, but I just don't see it happening. Purdue will cover the 20.5, and the Illini will extend that Big Ten Conference losing streak to nine straight games.

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