CHAMPAIGN-Illinois came into this game with something to prove, but Purdue and head coach Darrell Hazell had different ideas.
Purdue outscores Nevada 14-0 in the second half to improve to 2-1
Purdue Hosts Nevada on Saturday at Noon
After a week off, the Purdue Boilermakers return to the gridiron when they host the Nevada Wolfpack on Saturday at noon.
Purdue is coming off of a 38-20 loss at the hands of Cincinnati, but has had two weeks to prepare for the Wolfpack. Nevada was victorious over Buffalo by a 38-14 margin. This will be their second trip to the state of Indiana as they also played at Notre Dame two weeks ago which resulted in a 39-10 win for the Irish.
Let’s take a look at a few keys to a Purdue victory as well as our prediction for what we can expect to see from the Boilermakers on Saturday.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
1. Purdue’s rushing defense against Nevada’s powerful rushing attack. Nevada is currently averaging 208.3 yards on the ground through their first three games. The Wolfpack rushing attack is led by tailback James Butler. Butler has amassed 347 yards on 66 carries, good for a 5.3 per carry average. The Boilers have allowed 219.0 rushing yards per game which ranks 108th in the nation. Shutting down Nevada on the ground will be paramount to Purdue’s success on Saturday.
2. The Boilermaker defense’s ability to get off of the field on third down. In their first two match-ups against Eastern Kentucky and Cincinnati the Purdue defense allowed their opponents to go 10-20 and 13-21 respectively on third down. The combined 23-41 equates to a 56% conversion rate. Purdue has to be able to get off the field on third down on Saturday. It will be crucial for the Boiler defense to put the Wolfpack in third-and-long situations and to force Nevada quarterback Tyler Stewart to beat them through the air.
3. Ball security. For the first time in Darrell Hazell’s tenure it seems the Boilers have an offense capable of moving the ball up and down the field. The offense was able to accumulate 504 yards of offense against Cincinnati two weeks ago. However, they turned the ball over five times including twice in the red zone. Purdue will need to take care of the pigskin and cash in on their red zone opportunities in order to walk out of Ross-Ade with a win on Saturday.
I anticipate this being a high scoring game as offense will rule the day. Both defenses will struggle at times and give up large gains on the ground. Purdue will look to establish Markell Jones and the rushing attack early. The Wolfpack defense has allowed 284.3 rushing yards per game, but Purdue could be missing both starting offensive tackles. Therefore, gaining yards on the ground and staying out of third-and-long will be a must for the Boilers on offense.
On the defensive side of the ball, Purdue will need a big game from its linebacker corps. Ja’Whaun Bentley will be the tone setter on defense and the Boilers will lean heavily on him and Danny Ezechukwu. The extra week of preparation should help Purdue to stay disciplined in shutting down Nevada’s rushing lanes. Overall, I expect Purdue to win on Saturday but it may be ugly at times. Nevada’s offense will put points on the board, but the Boilermaker defense will get enough stops for a Purdue victory.
Predicted Score: Purdue 45 – Nevada 34
Purdue Scores Twice in Opening Minutes En Route to Victory