WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Despite UConn's struggles this season, Purdue coach Jeff Brohm knows it won't be a walk in the park when his team travels to Hartford, Connecticut on Saturday.
The Huskies are 0-2 so far this season, their previous head coach — Randy Edsall — stepped down and the team will have a new starting quarterback under center this weekend. But the Boilermakers are still preparing as hard as they would for any opponent.
"The ball hasn't rolled their way, and sometimes that's due to execution, sometimes that's due to a little luck," Brohm said of UConn. "But you know what, any week, anything can happen. I know they're going to come ready to play. It's a home game for them. Every player in college football has pride, and they want to go out there and win."
Purdue opened its season with a 30-21 victory over Oregon State at Ross-Ade Stadium. If it weren't for two huge fourth-down stops by the Boiler defense, the game may have swung in the Beavers' direction.
Quarterback Jack Plummer threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to tight end Payne Durham to secure the win. But Oregon State was hanging on until the final minutes of the game.
That can't happen against UConn, and there's plenty for Purdue to improve on to make sure it doesn't. The upcoming game against the Huskies serves to finetune the playbook and schemes for the rest of the 2021 season.
"We know that we have to get better as a football team in all three segments," Brohm said. "We've got to have a great week of preparation. We've got to stay locked in and we've got to execute. If you don't do that, you're going to get beat."
Purdue hasn't finished a season with a winning record since 2017, Brohm's first year as the program's head coach. Since then, the Boilermakers are 13-19, which includes last week's win.
"Every week, you know what, there's good football teams across the country," Brohm said. "It's about are you going to play well, are you going to prepare well, are you going to execute, are you going to stay focused. Anybody can beat anybody on a given day. I think our players understand that. We're definitely not at a stage to ever take anything for granted."
Last week, the team broke a four-game losing streak dating back to last season. For Purdue to get back on track and compete for a bowl game appearance come season's end, winning these games without too much issue is paramount.
The Boilermakers are looking to better themselves each and every week, no matter who lines up in front of them on Saturdays.
"If you want to be any good in football, you've got to challenge yourself to raise the bar and have your best performance each and every week, and if you're not doing that, it'll catch up with you and you won't have a good season," Brohm said. "So this is an important week for us, and we need to play some good football."
Purdue is scheduled to play UConn at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. As of Wednesday, Purdue is a 34.5-point favorite, according to sports gambling website FanDuel.com. The over/under is 58.5 points.
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