Purdue vs Louisville Game Preview

Written by Garin Turner

Photo Credit: Trevor Mahlmann/The SkyBoat

The 2017 season is just a couple days away for the Purdue Boilermakers football team. Saturday night at 6:30pm central time the Jeff Brohm era starts as the Purdue Boilermakers will face the 16th ranked Louisville Cardinals in the Ally Classic. The game will air on FOX and will also be on Sirus Radio 196/XM 119. Brohm, a former QB who played at Louisville and after retiring from the NFL, coached at his alma matter, looks to pick up the first of what he hopes to be many victories for the Boilermakers. This game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium, which also is host of the Big Ten Championship game as well as the Indianapolis Colts thus making it a neutral site game for both teams.

Brohm as a Head Coach
Before taking the job for the Boilermakers Brohm was the head coach at Western Kentucky from 2014-2016. His record was 30-10 (.750 winning percentage) which includes a 19-5 Conference USA record (.792). The Hilltoppers were back to back league champions in 2015 and 2016, the first time since the school became a FBS member. The Hilltoppers won the 2014 Bahamas Bowl and the 2015 Miami Beach Bowl. They also won the 2016 Boca Raton Bowl but the win is credited to interim head coach Nick Holt.

Series History
Saturday marks the second meeting between these two teams. The other game was a 22-22 tie on Sept. 19, 1987 in Ross-Ade Stadium. In that game, the Boilermakers set the school record for rushing yards allowed. Purdue held the Cardinals to -31 yards rushing on 20 attempts. It also stands as the last time Purdue has held a team to negative rushing yards.

NCCA Rankings (2016)

Purdue                                                          Louisville
Rushing Offense 125                                 Rushing Offense 13
Passing Offense 21                                    Passing Offense 23
Total Offense 80                                        Total Offense 3
Scoring Offense 101                                 Scoring Offense 6
Rushing Defense 115                                Rushing Defense 12
Pass Efficiency Defense 99                     Pass Efficiency Defense 51
Total Defense 91                                        Total Defense 14
Scoring Defense 117                                 Scoring Defense 31
Net Punting 59                                           Net Punting 17
Punt Returns 70                                         Punt Returns 60
Kickoff Returns 75                                    Kickoff Returns 71
Turnover Margin 128                               Turnover Margin 107
Time of Possession 73                               Time of Possession 87

Rankings are among 128 FBS teams in 2016

Purdue Openers
When playing on Sept 2, the Boilermakers are 4-0 with the most recent win back in 2006 against the Indiana State Sycamores. Purdue is also 1-9 against ranked opponents on Sept 2. The lone victory came against No. 23 West Virginia in 1995. Purdue’s all-time record in season opening games is 76-47-6. The Boilermakers have won 14 of the last 18 season openers.

What to watch for

Purdue: This is a tough assignment for a new coach but Coach Brohm will have his guys ready to play. The key for the Boilermakers will be to keep Louisville’s offense off the field led by reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Purdue will have to improve on their rushing offense from last year in which only three other teams in FBS finished worse. Sophomore Tario Fuller and junior Markell Jones Jr. will get the first cracks at running the ball on Saturday.  Purdue was solid in the passing game last year and junior quarterback David Blough looks to keep the momentum going. He threw 21 interceptions last year and must cut down on that this year. He spent the summer at the Manning Passing Academy and is looking to carry over his experience there onto the field.

For the defense, all they have to do is slow down Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. Jackson passed for 3,543 yards with 30 TDs and 9 INTs. He also ran for 1,571 yards on 260 carries and 21 TDs. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry. Sophomore LB Markus Bailey will lead the defensive effort against Louisville. Baily had 97 tackles with six of them being for a loss. He also had 4 INT’s.

Louisville: The Cardinals have to come out and show that last year is behind them. They ended the 2016 season on a three-game losing streak and they don’t want to carry that over into 2017. I’m sure head coach Bobby Petrino would like to see his star QB take less hits this year so look for Louisville to find a running game besides Jackson.  The senior running back trio of Reggie Bonnaion, Jeremy Smith, and Malik Williams will try to alleviate some of the duties of Jackson.

For the defense, they want to force Blough to make a mistake and throw an interception. This game has the potential for a shootout which could favor the Cardinals but they’d rather limit Purdue’s scoring and thus defuse any confidence as the game goes on.

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