A Closer Look at the Boilermakers!
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Purdue Boilermakers limp into East Lansing with a 4-6 record, riding a four game losing streak. With seven year Head Coach Danny Hope at the helm, the Boilermakers have encountered some major growing pains, especially at quarterback. Three quarterbacks have been injured in games this season, as Purdue has had a swarm of injuries. The team owns one of the worst offenses (107th in the FBS) in the nation and a far from stellar defense. The lone bright spot for the team is Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week defensive tackle Ryan Kerrigan. The Boilermakers need to beat the Spartans to make a bowl game. Right now, it looks unlikely that the Boilermakers will be soaking up the sun in December or January.
- Purdue has faced three ranked opponents in the past four weeks. The results have not been pretty for Hopeâ€™s squadÃŸ. In losses to Ohio State, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan, the Boilermakers were outscored 154-39.
- The simple reason that Purdue is 4-6: an inability to score points. The offense averages a paltry 17 points a game. In last weekâ€™s game with Michigan, the unit managed a mere nine points on offense versus the 114th ranked defense in the nation.
- Injuries have taken a huge toll on the passing attack. The original quarterback, Robert Marve, suffered a season-ending knee injury. Current starter, red shirt- freshman Rob Henry, missed significant time versus Ohio Stats and Illinois because of a finger injury. Wide out Justin Siller played one snap at quarterback for the Boilermakers before re-injuring his foot. At one point, freshman Sean Robinson was pressed into action. As if that wasnâ€™t enough, wide receiver Kevin Smith is out for the season.
- Right now, red shirt-freshman Rob Henry occupies the quarterback position. He leads the team with 555 yards through the air. However, he has a 50% completion average and more picks (four) than touchdowns (three). His right index finger has been causing him some pain as well as preventing a natural delivery. Right now, Head Coach Danny Hope has no good options at quarterback. Henryâ€™s finger is iffy, Sillerâ€™s feet are chancy, and Robinson is too inexperienced.
- The lack of a reliable ground attack has hurt the team immensely. The leading rusher on the team is fullback/running back Dan Dierking. The senior back has 497 yards on 96 carries, good for a 5.18 yards per carry average on the year. So why doesnâ€™t he have more yards? Simple- the Boilermakers fall behind early, and are thus forced to pass the ball. Dierking has only had two 100 yards games because he has only gotten fifteen or more carries in one game. Yet, he has struggled as of late against better defenses. Most likely, he will be shut down by the stellar Spartan front seven.
- On defense, Purdue boasts one of the best linemen in the country. Senior defensive tackle Ryan Kerrigan has been a force to be reckoned with for defenses all year. The Lott Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award semifinalist has racked up 23.5 tackles for loss (1st in the FBS) and 11.5 sacks (2nd in the FBS) on the year so far. In addition, he has forced 14 fumbles in his career, two of which came versus a great Michigan offense.
- The Spartan offense will not have trouble cutting up the Boilermaker defense, which cedes 27 points a game, if it can stop Kerrigan. The senior can throw offenses off balance, so Michigan State must be careful.
- Another player to watch on the Purdue defense is freshman cornerback Ricardo Allen. The freshman has started since the beginning of the season and has showed promise. In last Saturdayâ€™s game versus the Wolverines, he returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown.
- In reality, the Spartans really should have no problem pounding Purdue. As long as Michigan State doesnâ€™t shoot itself in the foot with turnovers, the team will be looking good heading into the season finale against Penn State.Â
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