PURDUE: Four Days and Counting

Bloomington - Indiana looks to conclude a frustrating season in a very positive way with a win over Purdue in the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket. Hoosier Nation continues its day-by-day preview of the match-up with Four Names to Know off the Purdue roster....

Keith Smith, WR - the Boilermakers' 6'2", 226-pound wide receiver has been on a tear as of late, totaling 26 catches for 236 yards in the last two games and 86 for 1,015 yards on the season. He has six 100-yard games this season giving him a chance to match the Purdue school record of seven most recently done by John Standeford in 2002. With another year of eligibility remaining, Smith will have a chance to be one of the most statistically productive wideouts in school history next fall. Oddly enough, Smith didn't arrive at Purdue as a wide receiver. The Ft. Hood, Texas, native came as a quarterback but was moved to safety as a true freshman. Due to a handful of injuries in the Boilermaker secondary in 2006 Smith played in 11 games as a rookie and had 11 tackles and one start. As a sophomore he was switched to wide receiver late in the season and wound up redshirting. That paved the way for a solid 2008 campaign when he had 49 catches for 486 yards and two scores. Solid has given way to spectacular this fall, and Smith will be a load for Indiana to contend with on Saturday.

Ralph Bolden, RB - when he isn't getting 15-yard penalties for celebrating touchdowns with the Purdue mascot, Boiler Pete (which he did in last weekend's 40-37 loss to Michigan State), Bolden has been establishing himself as one of the Big Ten's most productive runners. After playing sparingly as a true freshman in 2008, the 5'9", 194-pound sophomore has moved into the starting lineup and given the Purdue offense a consistent running threat. He's run for 931 yards and nine touchdowns on 199 carries and needs only 69 yards to become only the ninth player in Purdue history to rush for 1,000 yards. He's also been a reliable receiving threat out of the backfield, catching 20 balls for 261 yards and two more scores. He has excellent speed and is a big-play threat when he gets his hands on the ball. He has eight rushes for at least 20 yards this season, including a 78-yard touchdown run against Toledo. He got his sophomore season off to a great start with 357 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the first two weeks, but hasn't gone over the 100-yard mark since. But he has been picking things back up lately, carry 36 times for 174 yards in the last two games and scoring five total touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving).

Ryan Kerrigan, DE – Purdue is a less-than-intimidating 92nd in rushing defense (171.4/game), 70th in total defense (368.8/game) and 92nd in scoring defense (28.8 points/game), but this 6'4", 263-pound Muncie native isn't to blame for those numbers. He leads the Big Ten with 11 sacks to go along with 16 ½ tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and 63 tackles from his defensive end position. He's also been at his best in a couple of Purdue's biggest wins. In the upset against Ohio State Kerrigan earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors after totaling nine tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in the 26-18 win. He followed that up with two more sacks in Purdue's 38-36 win at Michigan two weeks ago. Kerrigan had a five-game run of at least one sack stopped in last weekend's loss to Michigan State, which also all but ended his chances at challenging Roosevelt Colvin's school record of 15 single season sacks.

Jason Werner, OLB this former Indiana Mr. Football had a non-descript college before having a breakout season in this his fifth season in West Lafayette. The former Indianapolis Roncali H.S. star saw action as a true freshman in 2005 but has since missed two full seasons with a back injury. Werner sat out the 2006 campaign with the ailment, and after playing in a reserve role in 2007 missed all of the '08 campaign after his back flared up and he had to have season-ending surgery to repair a disc. This year he's finally managed to stay healthy and he's been one of Purdue's most productive defensive players. Werner's 74 tackles lead the team, while his 14 ½ tackles for loss and 4 ½ sacks rank second and third, respectively. Werner – who played defensive back in high school – has proven to be excellent in coverage as well as on the blitz. While this is his fifth season, he might have an opportunity to return next fall for a sixth season. Since he never redshirted for non-injury reasons, he might be a candidate for a medical redshirt and a sixth season.

Coming Up
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday – Four Names to Know
On Wednesday – Three Key Match-Ups
On Thursday – Two Big Concerns
On Friday – One Bold Prediction

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