Scouting Purdue

Indiana and Purdue will renew their classic rivalry this weekend in West Lafayette, as the Hoosiers and Boilers battle for the Old Oaken Bucket. Indiana will be playing the game for pride, as they were eliminated from a bowl two weeks ago; however Purdue will be playing to improve their bowl status, as they clinched a bowl with a win last week over Ohio State. This rivalry is always intense, and it is sure to be a good game, let's break down the Purdue team.

Purdue Offense: The Purdue offense is run by Senior QB Kyle Orton. Orton began the year hot, scorching teams for touchdowns, and was the early season Heisman pick. Then Purdue began to play tougher teams however, and Orton's dreams of winning the coveted trophy for the best college player went by the wayside. Despite that, Orton is still one of the top passers in the Big Ten, and is supported by Taylor Stubblefield who has 68 catches and 12 touchdowns on the year. Stubblefield is on the brink of history, as he only needs 6 more catches to set the all time receptions mark in NCAA history. Kyle Ingram has also been a favorite receiver for the Purdue passer who is averaging 254 yards per game. Orton is very accurate with a 62.5% completion percentage, and will test the young Indiana defensive backfield. Purdue may excel at passing the ball, but they are no slouches when it comes to the ground game. Jerod Void and Brandon Jones are leading the Purdue rushing game this year. Each averages around 4 yards per carry, and can pick up the big yards when necessary. Overall, the offense of Purdue averages just under 425 yards per game, however those numbers are influenced by easy wins over Ball State and Syracuse. The offense will carry the Purdue team, and the passing game will be its strength. The Hoosiers will have to get pressure on Orton and contain Stubblefield to be successful in the game.

Purdue Defense: The offense may be getting all the accolades at Purdue this year, but the defense has been very good throughout the year, and kept Purdue in their close games. The defense is giving up just over 325 yards per game, and only allows 99 yards of rushing. They are very strong up the middle, and stop the run very well. Linebacker George Hall and strong safety Bernard Pollard are the teams leading tacklers, and both are excellent run stoppers. Purdue will often pull Pollard up to defense the run and blitz. This is a high risk- high reward situation for the Boilers, because it leaves a lot of single coverage on pass plays. The secondary is the not the strongest at defending the pass, which is certainly the weakness of the team. They can be caught blitzing at the wrong time, and big plays can result. The defense has however caused 8 interceptions, often due to pressure, and recovered 5 fumbles. This is a defense that will create turnovers, but they do not live and die by them. Indiana will be best suited to run outside the tackles on the weak side, and pass the ball when Purdue is looking run.

Purdue Special Teams: Kickers have had a tough year in college football this year, and Purdue's Ben Jones is no different. Jones has connected on 10 of 17 field goals, and has missed a PAT on the year. While he has not been extremely accurate, Purdue will still give him opportunities from as far as 50 yards out. Dave Brytus has been doing the majority of the punting, and is not a spectacular punter. His punts average less than 40 yards per punt, although his long this year is 63. Purdue hasn't given up a ton of yardage in the return game, but their returns aren't spectacular either. Lance Bennett should see some room to run kickoffs back, but Brytus' punts don't get enough distance for a big runback. If special teams decide this game, it will be a long afternoon for both coaches and their respective kickers.

That's just a quick recap of the Purdue Boilermakers, who are 6-4 on the year, going 3-4 in the Big Ten. Purdue will be bowl eligible this year, and looks to finish in the middle of the Big Ten. Gametime is set for 12:00 noon, and the game will not be on television. You can however watch on ESPN broadband.

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