On Saturday at 11 a.m. Central time, the Illinois Fighting Illini will take on the Purdue Boilermakers at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL. The Illini come into the contest matching Purdue with a record of 4 wins and 3 losses. The Illini are coming off a big win against Big Ten rival Indiana, winning 43-13. The Boilermakers are coming off of a horrid loss against Ohio State, losing 49-0.
Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase looked great going up against the Indiana defense and the Purdue defense ranks about the same as the Hoosiers’. On average, Purdue gives up 120 yards more on defense than their offense accounts for. The Boilermakers seem to be more of a running team where they have average about 180 yards, opposed to only a 150 yards per game passing the ball.
Look for the Illinois-Purdue game to be an old-style, smash mouth football game. Yes, both teams will throw in some passing plays throughout the game to keep the defense faithful, but Illini’s running back, Mikel LeShoure, is going to be receiving a lot of touches. Purdue has a running game consisting of a committee of backs. The highest rusher on the Boilermakers is quarterback Rob Henry who is a red-shirt freshman. The next two leading rushers are fullback Dan Dierking and running back Keith Carlos, both of whom rush for over 38 yards per game.
The Purdue Boilermakers have two semi-important wins against Northwestern and Minnesota, but other than that they have lost to Notre Dame, to Toledo, and Ohio State extremely bad. The only team that the Illini and the Boilermakers both played against is the Ohio State Buckeyes. As I have said in my past posts, the Illini had a great chance to beat the Buckeyes. Looking at the 49-0 score of the Boilermakers’ matchup with the Buckeyes, I am going to go ahead and guess that the Boilermakers never really had a chance.
Honestly, looking at the numbers and from watching the Illini game last week, I think the Illini can blow the Boilermakers out of the water. With that being said, I remember we are also talking about the Illini that are lead by Ron Zook, whom I do not tend to trust too much. I will give him credit for this season though. He has lost to undefeated Missouri (who just beat the number 1 ranked team in the nation), Ohio State, who was ranked number 1 at one point and is still right up there, and the Michigan State Spartans (who were ranked number 18 in the land when the Illini played them). Those are some great teams to have lost to. I am very impressed with the way the Illini have played this year, especially the D. Hopefully, this week the Illini will keep up the effort and keep rolling against the Boilermakers.
PREDICTION: Illinois- 27, Purdue- 10
About the Author
Written by Gregg Pluta
I am currently a sophomore in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.