WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue, coming off a demoralizing loss in a rain-soaked game at home against Illinois, gets another chance for a win in Ross-Ade Stadium when Nebraska comes to town on Saturday (Noon ET, FOX).
Purdue will have to win to keep their hopes at a bowl game alive, having just two wins with four games remaining.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm talked about the play of his quarterbacks, George Karlaftis, the running game and more during his Wednesday evening radio show live from the stacked pickle on campus.
Here are the three biggest takeaways from the show:
Brohm discussed the play of his two freshman quarterbacks, Jack Plummer and Aidan O’Connell, in the loss to Illinois. He recognized that he may have overreacted in his postgame press conference, and it didn’t look as bad as he thought after watching film on the game.
In a game that would be difficult for any quarterback because of the pouring rain, Purdue's quarterbacks finished just 15-for-33 passing for 136 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Brohm realizes that they’re both just freshman and that does he want to be hard on them, but in a game affected by the rain that much, it wasn’t necessarily their fault for the bad performance.
“You’ve got to live with some of their mistakes, help them improve and get their confidence back going because there’s plenty of season left to be played,'' Brohm said. “Both quarterbacks that were in the game are freshman, and to think that they’re going to go out there and put a dominating performance on the field, especially in those conditions, is unrealistic.”
George Karlaftis’ Play
Defensive end George Karlaftis has been a standout for the Purdue defense this season. The true freshman from West Lafayette has posted 39 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and one interception this season. Even as a freshman, Karlaftis has stepped up for a defense that lost Markus Bailey early in the season. He has become a leader, and Brohm recognizes that. He credits Karlaftis’ success to his work ethic and desire to be a dominant player.
“Right now he’s a stud on that side of the ball. He works extremely hard and really it’s a credit to the work ethic he has,” Brohm said. “The sky's the limit and I think he can be a phenomenal player that breaks a lot of records.”
Brohm discussed the running game and the play of Zander Horvath in the loss to Illinois. The Purdue running game has been struggling for most of the season, and Brohm attributes that to the offensive line not creating openings, and backs not running hard downhill.
One guy who seemed to do that was Horvath near the end of the game. He broke off some big runs, and he finished the day with nine attempts for 54 yards. The last few drives, the running backs looked to be what Brohm wants to see from that position, and that’s a credit to the way Horvath played.
“It was good to see him, the last drive or two, run the ball more physical,” Brohm said. “Zander’s just got to run the ball hard and he’s got to be physical, and he’s got to find ways to run through tackles.”