College Football action within the Big 10 on Saturday afternoon and we will see the Purdue Boilermakers rumble with the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois. Northwestern won last year's game on the road by a score of 31-27. The Boilermakers enter this game at 3-6 overall, including 2-4 within the Big 12 while the Wildcats come in at 1-7 overall, including 0-6 in league play.
Boilers Rally To Take Down HuskersIt has been an odd last three weeks for Purdue. They were 17.5 point dogs against Iowa on the road before losing by just six. Then they were blasted at home against Illinois by a score of 24-6, despite being 10 point favorites. Last week, they were home as four-point dogs against Nebraska and won by a score of 31-27. Purdue trailed four different times in the game, but they never gave up and got a nine yards TD run from David Bell with just 1:08 left to put them up for good. It's hard to get a read on this team at the moment. Can they take down a Northwestern team that is still winless in the Big 10? Who the hell knows. What we do know is that the Boilermakers have struggled some on defense this year, but that could change in this one against a northwestern team that couldn't find the endzone right now, even if they started each drive on their opponents 10 yards line. The weakness of this unit is their pass defense, which ranks 95th in the nation, but they will be facing a Northwestern offense that ranks just 126th in the land.
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The Purdue defense will need to step up as their offense has been nothing special. The Boilermakers have averaged just 24.6 ppg on the year overall including just 19 ppg in their last three games That will not get it done against most teams on their schedule, but it could be enough to get the job done against this pathetic Northwestern offense. The Boilermakers are led by Jack Plummer, who has been mediocre at best. He has thrown for 1605 yards and 11 TDs but has also tosed eight INTs. The problem here is that he is now done for the year and needs surgery. Aidan O'Connell will take over and he will be faced with the task of trying to crack a Wildcat defense that is 28th in the nation against the pass. O'Connell will have to have a solid game as Purdue is 129th in the nation in rushing.
Where Is The Offense?The Northwestern Wildcats have never been known as an offensive powerhouse but their play on that side of the ball of late has been downright putrid. Northwestern has scored more than 15 points just once this year and that was the 30 points they hung on UNLV in their second game. Even worse is that they have scored a total of six points in their last three games and have averaged a mere 6.8 pg in Big 10 play overall. YIKES!!! That is the reason why the Cats are 0-6 in league play so far. Northwestern is 128th in the nation in total offense, 126th in passing, 103rd in rushing and dead last in scoring at 9.8 ppg. Can they find their offense against a Purdue defense that has been below average this year? We shall see.
Hunter Johnson has passed for 432 yards with one TD and four INTs while Aidan Smith has thrown for 500 yards with one TD and six INTs. The Cats are 126th in the nation in turnover margin per game at -1.2, which hasn't helped their cause. We note that Johnson is listed as questionable for this game and that means it could be Smith's show. Northwestern will need to rely on their defense to win this one, but it has struggled of late as they have allowed 35.3 ppg over their last three games. Still, they will be facing an offense that has produced just 19.0 ppg over their last three games. The Cats are 36th in total defense and 53rd in points allowed, giving up 25.6 ppg. The defense will need to play well in this one.
Trends Are Courtesy Of Covers.com Purdue is:
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS win.
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win
- 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
- 7-2-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record
- 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games in November